Log it and burn it

Wood pellets, climate and British Columbia’s deepening forest crisis
April 23, 2024
7.27 MB40 pages

BC’s forests are in crisis. The sharp increase in wood pellet exports to Japan is fueling the loss of BC primary forests. The indicators of unsustainable demand are evident, and without proper reforms, we are looking at lasting and devastating consequences for BC forests and the collapse of the ecosystems they sustain.

Log it and Burn it: Wood pellets, climate and British Columbia’s deepening forest crisis’ is informed by fieldwork in Japan and BC. This new report tracked the surge in BC wood pellet exports led by Japan’s increased demand following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that heavily damaged its nuclear power facilities. Without nuclear power plants as a source of energy, Japan turned to thermal-electricity plants—which use BC pellets as fuel.

The report shows that this massive increase in demand is coming at a time when supply is diminishing at a concerning rate—logging rates in BC fell by 38% over the same decade Japan’s demand for pellets soared. The combination of steadily falling logging rates, rising mill closures and massive increases in wildfires each year all point to a deepening fibre supply crisis in BC and a potential collapse of irreplaceable forests if this unsustainable cycle continues.

The report concludes with six concrete policy recommendations to course-correct and steer toward a more ecologically responsible supply of forest products and a better conservation-oriented approach to protect primary and old-growth forests in BC. I invite you to read these policy-based solutions and spread the word about this issue to raise awareness. This ecological challenge must not be ignored.