Area-based tenures not a priority, says Canfor boss

Canfor has concerns about a process proposed by the province to create more area-based tenures,

Canfor has concerns about a process proposed by the province to create more area-based tenures, according to company CEO Don Kayne on his blog, “World of Wood”.

“In our view, this is absolutely not the time for major changes to tenure administration,” Kayne wrote. “Given the uncertainty regarding the state of our forests, we believe that there are many higher priorities that would yield greater positive impacts.”

Kayne felt the proposal to create more area-based tenures has two main issues.

The first is that the data shows management practices in area-based tenures and volume-based tenures are substantially the same.

“It is economics that drives low levels of intensive silviculture with the 60- to 80-year rotations we have in the interior, not the form of tenure,” Kayne said.

The Canfor CEO’s second issue was that change of this importance requires broadly informed public support, not a brief and limited consultation.

“Our view is that any potential benefits from increased supply security would be offset by the damage to our industry’s social licence and whatever take-back provision would be imposed,” he wrote.

Kayne also noted that, in the discussion paper, the list of stakeholders to be consulted was, “… so thin as to be problematic.”

Only two major forest companies were included, and Canfor was not one of them.

Converting volume-based tenures to area-based would be a complex task and almost sure to unfairly favor some forest companies over others.

Public opposition was the deal-breaker, he said, as many people view the proposal as a move by the major forest companies to gain more control.

“As far as Canfor is concerned, the risk of aligning the public against B.C.’s largest forest companies outweighs any marginal benefits of expanded area-based tenures,” he said.

“If government moves to expanding area-based tenure, Canfor would participate in order to protect our interests. But we would do so reluctantly. We consider it a needless diversion of vital government staff time – and our own staff time – away from higher priorities.”