The Osoyoos Indian Band and Mercer Celgar Working Together to Optimize Use of Uneconomical Wood Fiber

The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and pulp and paper mill Mercer Celgar (Celgar) are collaborating to rethink conventional practices around what has traditionally been considered uneconomical wood fiber, the Times Chronicle reported (2-6-24).

This type of wood fiber typically doesn’t make its way to sawmills and is not considered economically feasible for non-sawlog products. These logs have a lower value and generally are only used to create pulp for various products, including paper, tissue, and food packaging. The project’s participants say the primary goal is to promote “diversification and innovation within the supply chain” to recover and utilize greater amounts of wood fiber that was typically wasted.

According to the Times Chronicle, the collaboration is enabled by funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), part of which is being used to incentivize tenure holders, excluding BC Timber Sales, and contractors to consider forest stands that were historically deemed economically unviable to harvest.

The project is helping recover as much of this residual fiber as possible from the OIB’s traditional territory. Dan Macmaster, Forest Manager at the OIB, highlighted the significance of sustainable resource use for the OIB, pointing to the fact that higher fiber utilization has both environmental and economic benefits.

The project is currently 65% complete with approximately 128,000 m3 of the uneconomical wood fiber aimed to be hauled to Celgar’s mill by March 31st. Chris Longmore, Manager, Fibre Procurement, with Celgar told the Times Chronicle that once the project has concluded the mill will continue to maximize the recovery and utilization of uneconomical fiber through “collaboration with land tenure holders and their logging workforce in the southern interior.”

The project will not only “normalize” the higher utilization of residual fiber, but will help reduce emissions from slash pile burning, and the partners say it will help strengthen reconciliation efforts through collaboration.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.