Timber harvests have increased 14% over the past five years, driven by increased sales to Asia, according to a report from the Wood Resource Quarterly and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

More than 90% of log exports from Western Canada went to Asia over the period, with the total volume shipped overseas increasing from 2.0 million m3 (cubic metres) in 2010 to 5.8 million m3 in 2014. Log volumes from British Columbia to China alone have risen from about 100,000 m3 in 2007 to 3.4 million m3 in 2014.

“In B.C., timber harvesting has increased from 63.3 million cubic metres in 2010 to 66.4 million cubic metres in 2014,” Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Steve Thomson told Business in Vancouver.

“This increase coincides with recovery from the global economic recession and B.C.’s efforts to diversify its export markets, most notably into China.”

Exports to Asian markets have dropped recently, however. During the first seven months of 2015, export volumes to Asia declined 17% from the same period in 2014, and total shipments for 2015 are estimated to be less than five million m3, which is 21% below the record high seen two years ago.

In 2014, Canada shipped an estimated 13.7 million m3 of industrial roundwood – 1.3% more than 2013 and 14% more than 2010.