Canadian Forest Service Publications

An economic perspective on clearcut harvesting. 2001. Wilson, W.R.; Wilson, L. The Forestry Chronicle 77(3): 467-473.

Year: 2001

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 18365

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free)

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Abstract

The economic contributions from commercial forestry, measured in trade terms, employment and regional development, are well established. Less understood is the environmental contribution of forestry, provided that forestry is practised in a sustainable manner. Despite the economic and environmental benefits, the social license for commercial forestry is increasingly challenged in terms of access to timber and the conditions placed on access, and in access to major export markets for forest products. Fundamental to addressing these challenges is the utilization of harvesting regimes acceptable to both resource owners and customers. Clearcut harvesting may be a scientifically reasonable replication of natural disturbance, allowing adequate provision for forest character and structure, but it is the emotional impact of the harvest site that often determines public acceptability. The institutional setting for commercial forestry is evolving rapidly and is increasingly driven by non-governmental groups that are proving particularly adept with information age tools. This paper will examine the supply and demand factors that are producing the pressure on harvesting practices, the institutional response to these pressures, the physical and financial implications of partial-cut harvesting, and will examine the harvesting norms that have emerged in a number of key softwood producing regions.