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Financial implications and some costs and benefits of logging guidelines in the Chilliwack provincial forest Benskin, Henry J.

Abstract

The financial implications and some of the costs and benefits of two sets of logging guidelines were examined in two sample drainages in the Chilliwack Provincial Forest. Time limitations and lack of data on non-timber resource impacts prevented a full quantitative evaluation of all costs and benefits. Instead, an analysis of the financial impact of these guidelines on the timber resource was undertaken, and supported by a qualitative discussion of environmental, social and income distribution effects. The potential variation in the system was demonstrated by a simulation approach to the financial evaluation. There still is much uncertainty in most of the assumptions and research and improved methods could provide more precise answers. The financial analysis showed that the alternative patch cutting system, common to both sets of guidelines, was the main contributing factor to increased logging costs. The more extensive basis for harvesting under this system was found to result in as much as a 60% decline in potential economic rent per developed acre, without any consideration of increases in physical harvesting costs. The size of the increase in physical logging costs per unit was found to be very sensitive to interest rates and to the length of the leave period between consecutive harvesting passes. Application of the 1972 Coast Logging Guidelines to harvesting-operations in the Chilliwack Provincial Forest was found to result in an extra annual cost, ranging from between $0,632 million to $6,645 million for the next 24 years. A figure of $1,423 million was considered to be the most realistic estimate of the extra costs resulting from the guidelines. The alternate patch cutting system with long leave periods -may aggravate instability of those small undiversified communities which are highly dependent upon the local timber processing industries for employment. Analysis of the costs and benefits of the guidelines as they affect other resource values revealed that they may be an inefficient means for attaining multiple use objectives. It appeared likely that problems of erosion, sedimentation and aesthetic impact may even be increased overall, because of the more extensive basis for forest development. There still is a need for much investigation of the quantitative aspects of harvesting impacts on forest land resources. In addition the analyses should be extended to other units, and guideline effects evaluated by mathematical modelling.

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