Hardwood floors are beautiful with their distinctive cache. But a hardwood floor made from local trees, well, that gives the owner some bragging rights.
Manitoba has the hardwood and Shane Tornblom believes there are buyers willing to pay a premium for a locally produced, high-quality product.
“That’s why we want to get a micro-forestry industry going in Manitoba,” Tornblom, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ (MAFRI) business development specialist for woodlots, told a dozen or so participants here for a seminar on lowimpact logging Nov. 4.
To that end MAFRI is offering an incentive program, including up to $2,730 for woodlot owners to either harvest their own trees or contract with a logger to do it. To qualify, “best management practices” have to be employed when harvesting the trees.
Woodlot owners can enrol up to seven acres in the program and receive a maximum of $520 an acre.
To qualify for the program loggers must have taken a basic chainsaw training program and attended a two-day, low-impact logging course, which MAFRI has been offering around the province.
“We want two landowner references from the loggers and a demonstrated ability to deliver lowimpact logging,” Tornblom said.
“What we want is to help the loggers on how to do it right and we’re going to be there during the logging process, especially during the first couple of times so that loggers can learn how to do this safely and follow what’s set out in the sales agreement. We’re coaches, we’re not enforcement guys.”
Woodlot owners can also do the logging themselves. If they happen to own their own sawmill the potential to make money from their trees is even better, Tornblom said.
MAFRI foresters will mark the trees to be harvested and verify that the logging met the standards set out in the sales agreement signed by the woodlot owner and logger. The agreement is there to protect the landowner and logger.
Tornblom expects much of the incentive money will go to the loggers since most Manitoba woodlots are in poor shape. In many cases there won’t be a lot of good lumber trees harvested. The focus to start will be on removing dead and dying trees, so better trees can thrive and one day be harvested for high-value hardwood floors and fine furniture.
There’s money to be made from woodlots, especially when the focus is on harvesting a high-quality product, Tornblom said. Unfortunately, a lot of woodlots are suffering because of a lack of management. Some owners wrongly believe leaving a bush in its natural state is good for it. But Tornblom said overtime trees get over mature, become susceptible to attack from insects and disease and die all the while holding back the development of younger trees.
“What makes it worse is it’s a lost opportunity – a lost resource,” he said. [email protected]