25 enero 2010

Forestry’s future

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Forestry graduates face an uncertain future.

But forest tenure and pricing changes could be their salvation.

The topic was on everyone’s minds on Friday afternoon at the 42nd annual Forestry Symposium at Lakehead University, a timely discussion given the provincial commitment to changing decades-old practices that have effectively kept new players out of the game.

With the collapse of the traditional forest industry over the past decade, that change is necessary, said soon-to-graduate forestry student Shawn Mandula.

"We’re hoping that revamping the tenure system is going to allow for a stronger economy, a stronger industry, not only in Northwestern Ontario, but nationally and internationally. A stronger industry means more jobs out there for everybody, and that’s something that everyone wants to hear when they’re in university," he said.

Mandula added the province is taking some steps in the right direction, encouraged that Ontario has put 11 million cubic metres of wood up for bid. It’s an attempt to allow smaller companies access to fibre, a must if the province wants value-added products to spark the industry’s revival.

"That’s something we’re hoping that’s going to move some wood that’s been tied up for a long time in a lot of forest allocations. We’re hoping some of the smaller guys can jump in there and maybe do something as far as value-added timber products go," Mandula said.
That’s precisely the message the provincial representative who spoke at the symposium wanted to convey.

Mark Speers, a Sault Ste. Marie-based project director in the forest tenure and price review process with the ministry of northern development, mines and forestry, said public consultations held over the past six months or so have shown that people think pricing is out of whack and that large mills should be less worried about holding tenure and more worried about creating products they can sell.

A greater involvement by Aboriginals and the communities themselves is also high on the government’s wish list.

Speers, a Lakehead graduate, said he hopes to have firm recommendations ready for the government by spring.

"Clearly we want to try to create opportunities that promote greater access to the forestry resource, particularly forest resources that are not being used, not only by new entrants, but also by the existing forestry industry, where they might be able to have access to wood that is closer to their facility and thereby more cost-effective for them to utilize it," Speers said.

Other speakers included LU assistant forestry professor Harry Nelson, Red Rock Inc.’s Mike Shusterman and MP Bruce Hyer.

0 comentarios realizados :