The Forestry Landscape

A variety of terrain conditions are found within RDMW including lowlands on Northern Vancouver Island, the rugged Coast Mountains, and some drier areas in the southern part of the region near Woss. Major tree species include western hemlock, western red cedar, amabilis fir, Douglas fir, yellow cedar, Sitka spruce, and red alder.

The RDMW contains five Tree Farm Licenses with a combined Allowable Annual Cut for the various tenures of approximately 4,560,000 cubic meters. All of this cut is managed to the standards of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and associated regulations in order to ensure stewardship of all forest resources, including cultural heritage resources, soils, timber, wildlife, riparian areas, landscape and stand level biodiversity, community watersheds, visual quality, and recreation. In addition to meeting the legislated requirements of FRPA, recent land use plans have been approved requiring additional stewardship consideration including the Central Coast Land Use Order with its associated Ecosystem‐Based Management objectives and the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan.

Employment

The future for the coastal forest industry remains strong, despite ongoing changes in the industry and policy.

A study performed on jobs in the BC coastal forestry industry indicates that of the roughly 4,500 job openings in the forest sector from 2013 to 2022, two-thirds of those jobs would be directly in logging occupations. This demand represents almost 60% of base employment levels in logging operations. Average annual growth rates in some logging occupations are between five and ten times higher than the projected provincial job growth rate of 1%.

The largest openings (by 2022) were in the following coastal logging occupations:

  • 840 logging machinery operators
  • 596 hand fallers
  • 559 truck drivers
  • 428 logging workers
  • 134 falling supervisors

Growth in job openings by 2022 was also projected for forestry professionals (114), forestry technologists/technicians (246), forestry supervisors (158), forestry production workers (247), heavy equipment operators (170) and heavy duty equipment mechanics (185).

The most in-demand occupation in the BC forest industry as a whole was identified to be predominantly forestry professionals (1,040), forestry technologists and technicians (1,000) and logging positions (machine operators [530 openings], truck drivers, labourers, chainsaw and skidder operators. The position listed in the BC Labour Market Outlook to 2025 that was in the top job opening growth list that has tie-ins to the forest sector is truck drivers, with a projected 1,980 job openings to 2025. In 2015, RDMW estimated forestry-related employment to be 2,006 jobs, or 33% of total regional employment. For more information on the various industry sectors in the RDMW, review the RDMW sector study.