The British Columbia Interior’s timber harvest and sawmill production is expected to see its long awaited down-sizing as the effects of the mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation on timber supplies take hold.

The MPB epidemic is responsible for one of the largest natural environmental catastrophes and could eventually kill up to one billion m3 of standing lodgepole pine timber in the BC Interior.

While a massive salvage programme has been underway for much of the last 10 years, eroding log quality, poorer conversion economics and shorter shelf-life of the dead timber will all result in a much smaller BC industry in the future as a result of sawmill and plywood mill closures with significant and direct consequences expected for rural BC communities.

Coincident with the decline in solid wood and panel production in the BC Interior will be a significant reduction in the availability of residual fibre, chips, sawdust, shavings and hog fuel that is currently used to produce pulp, paper, pellets, panel boards and electrical energy throughout the BC interior.

These and other perspectives of the MPB epidemic in the BC Interior are part of assessments contained in a report, BC Interior – mountain pine beetle attack: impact and outlook on BC timber availability and wood products production, published by International Wood Markets Group.