BC Interior Regional Fibre Supply Forecast

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Life After the Beetle: Analysis and forecast of BC timber availability and wood products production to 2028

A proprietary modeling of BC timber fibre availability by region and year (to 2028) under several key assumptions.

Reduced timber harvests and AACs as a result of the remaining mountain pine beetle infestation, the spruce bark beetle infestation, devastating forest fires, and a reduced timber harvest land base aimed at protecting the mountain caribou.

A modeling of BC lumber and panel production by year and BC region.

Annual projections of the likely supply of residual fibre (for pulp, MDF, particleboard, bioenergy and wood pellets) in BC by year and region.


The mountain pine beetle has devastated lodgepole pine forests in the province of British Columbia. While many of the impacts have already been felt in the industry, harvest levels continue to fall, and 27 mills have closed since 2006. Further timber harvest reductions and mill closures most definitely lie ahead, not just from the remaining impact of the mountain pine beetle, but also as a result of a new spruce bark beetle infestation, losses from two years of devasting forest fires, and recent moves to reduce harvests in order to protect the endangered mountain caribou.

The BC Interior (Regional) Fibre Supply Forecast (Life After the Beetle) report is the follow-up to two previous landmark reports: BC Mountain Pine Beetle: Evolving Impacts & Opportunities (2012) and BC Interior: Mountain Pine Beetle Attack (2010).

The 2019 report takes another deep dive into the dynamics that will continue to challenge BC forests and the provincial industry as a whole. It is not only sawmills that will be closing, but also rotary mills; there is also potential for closures of pulp mills, wood pellet plants and cogeneration plants.

This timely report will address the key implications impacting the BC industry’s future, e.g.,

  • Where in British Columbia will the largest gaps be seen between available fibre supply and plant capacities?
  • How has the BC Interior industry reacted to the effects of the beetle so far, and what is yet to come in terms of both mill closures and shift reductions?
  • Why is it likely that the impact of the beetle on BC’s forest industry may not be the end of the province’s troubles?

The proprietary BC Fibre Model, now owned by Industrial Forestry Service Ltd. of Prince George, provides the most accurate assessment of how the British Columbia industry has reacted up to this point, and what things will look like through 2028.

The project team brings complementary skills and a range of perspectives to the factors and issues that have the greatest potential to impact the forest industry of the BC Interior. As in our previous reports, the unique item to note about this study is the dozens of input variables (forests, mills, recoveries, etc.) that come together in a comprehensive forecast using the BC Fibre Model.

The model generates a detailed outlook for the Interior’s sawlog, chip and residual fibre availability at a strategic level over a planning horizon of one decade. In combination with assessments of how the resulting lumber, panel and pulp production may be affected, the final analysis clearly demonstrates why the BC industry may become a smaller regional force in global forest products markets in the years to come.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
    1. Introduction
    2. BC Interior Forest Industry — Sector Overview
    3. Analysis Methodology
    4. Fibre Availability Forecast and the BC Fibre Model
      1. 4.1 Forecast Sensitivity — Limitations of Modeled Predictions
      2. 4.2 Assumptions
    5. BC Interior Base Case Forecast
      1. Mill Closure History
      2. Looking Forward
      3. Post-Mountain Pine Beetle Base Case AAC Forecast
    6. Pending AAC Reduction Impacts
      1. Fire
      2. Spruce Beetle
      3. Mountain Caribou
    7. 2019 BC Interior Fibre Supply Forecast to 2028
      1. AAC and Sawlog Availability
      2. Residual Wood Chip Availability
      3. Sawdust and Shavings Availability
      4. Hog Fuel Availability
      5. Lumber Production Forecast
      6. Panel Production Forecast
    8. 2019 Fibre Supply Summary Perspectives
  • Appendix 1
    General analytical procedures and assumptions
  • Appendix 2

    Fibre supply forecasts to 2028 by BC region:

    • East Kootenays
    • West Kootenays
    • Kamloops/Okanagan
    • Cariboo
    • Prince George
    • Mackenzie
    • Peace
    • East Prince Rupert
    • West Prince Rupert

    Each region is broken out as follows:

    • Background information
    • Existing industry
    • Log supply threats
    • AAC and sawlog availability forecast
    • Sawmill operating rate forecast
    • Residual wood chip availability forecast
    • Sawdust and shavings availability forecast
    • Hog fuel availability forecast
    • Post-harvest roadside residual fibre forecast
    • Lumber production forecast
    • Panel production forecast
    • Regional summary perspectives