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May 2004

Forest Expo Index

Forest Expo evolution

Forest Expo chair Roy Nagel sees the show continuing to evolve, perhaps including live in-the-woods equipment demos in the future.

Forest Expo Chairman Roy Nagel

Roy Nagel has the distinction of being Forest Expo’s first by-default chairman. It was Ken Pendergast’s turn at the helm of Canada’s top forestry show. But then along came an offer too intriguing to ignore for the veteran Ministry of Forests, Forest Renewal BC employee and most recently manager of the Central Interior Wood Processors Association. He was offered a contract position to an Italian oil company active on Sakhalin, an island in the Sea of Okhotsk off the Siberian coast. Nagel, next in the board of directors rotation line, was recruited to fill the breach.

The manager of the Central Interior Logging Association has served on the show’s volunteer board for more than five years, and has been a Forest Expo observer for many years prior to that. The development and sustainability of Forest Expo comes as no surprise to him. There are good reasons for it, he says. Not the least of which is location, with Prince George at the centre of the biggest lumber-producing region in the province. The region is also home to a lot of large log harvesting contractors who have got where they are through innovation and expansion, he adds. The log harvesting sector has traditionally been at the heart of Forest Expo. Nagel says additional reasons for Forest Expo’s continued success include no other nearby forestry shows—geographically or on the calendar—and its biennial format. “It attracts visitors and exhibitors every other year because there really is different stuff to see.” The last couple of shows have included a gradually increasing presence of the secondary or specialty wood product manufacturing sector.

At this Forest Expo, for example, it’s called the Value-Added Marketplace. But despite the undoubted promise of secondary manufacturing and its potential for job creation, it’s still like a gangly athlete who’s yet to grow into its frame. The short reason for that, suggests Nagel, is the need to have assurances of wood fibre supply. “The 20 per cent clawback in cut from major licencees is part of the government’s goal to attract different entrants into the industry,” continues Nagel. He believes other mechanisms could be examined. More timber sales, log auctions and sort yards all play roles in making wood fibre available on a regular basis and at the right price to those with the ideas on how to utilize it, he says. “It’s something of a chicken and egg dilemma.”

Forest Expo’s board has chosen wisely not to meddle with the show’s success. A tweak here and a subtle tuck there but no major revamping. The next logical step in Forest Expo’s development is live, in-the-woods demonstrations of the latest in log harvesting machines and related equipment. The subject has been discussed seriously as recently as an inclusion for the 2004 show. But planning and executing it properly at the right location is not without its logistical and other problems. “The idea has not been dismissed. It remains a goal and would add another dimension to the show,” says Nagel. A further opportunity is to bring on stream other users of the forest resource, he continues.

The bio energy conference at the University of Northern British Columbia that’s an adjunct to this year’s Forest Expo is example of a growing interest in wood biomass utilization. Continuing to expand the value-added sector and more from the sawmilling side of the industry are similarly part of the forest resource users watershed. “I see on the horizon silviculture becoming more involved,” says Nagel. Much of the reason for that is linked directly to the mountain pine and other beetle epidemics throughout the region. The uplift in the AAC permitted by the Ministry of Forests to accelerate salvage harvesting and help contain the mountain pine beetle epidemic keys into reforestation, he explains. “Forest Expo should move to attract that segment.”

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