Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. Releases Video on Pressy Lake Pilot Project Featuring FESBC’s Executive Director

Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. has just released a video on their Pressy Lake pilot project featuring the Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s (FESBC) Executive Director, Steve Kozuki.

The video, titled “Trying Something New”, highlights the ongoing efforts of the pilot project, funded by FESBC, to rehabilitate areas severely affected by the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire.

Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC is “thrilled that CCR adopted a fire-damaged uneconomic forest abandoned by the forest industry. CCR will help turn biomass into green energy and sustainable forest products and replant a new forest to accelerate ecological recovery and reduce greenhouse gases. It truly represents our commitment to sustainable forestry practices and showcases how we can turn challenges into opportunities.”

Watch the full video here:

This video is followed by a second one, titled “What We Learned”, that speaks to the successes and learnings from the project and what the next steps would look like.

According to CCR, the release of a third video in early June will document tree planting with funding support from Natural Resources Canada, giving viewers an inside look into the efforts to reforest the area and showcasing the practical steps being taken to ensure the rehabilitation of the land.

‘Namgis Chief Victor Isaac Acknowledges Important Forestry Achievements for Communities on Northern Vancouver Island

Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Surrounding Communities, B.C. – Atli Resources LP, a ‘Namgis First Nation-owned company, in collaboration with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), is celebrating an important milestone in sustainable forestry practices with the successful recovery of 35,000 cubic meters of fibre—equivalent to approximately 700 truck loads. This achievement has been made possible through the crucial support and funding provided by FESBC, highlighting the impactful role FESBC plays in supporting projects that lead to substantial environmental benefits and community development.

As a part of the projects funded by FESBC, waste fibre is being collected and chipped at the Atli Chip facility at Beaver Cove.  The fibre comes from areas outside the economic radius of the plant, including areas near Holberg, Port Alice, Woss, and Port McNeill. The chipped fibre is then transported to support the operations of Paper Excellence’s pulp mills in Howe Sound and Crofton.

Chief Victor Isaac of the ‘Namgis First Nation reflected on the projects’ profound cultural and environmental impact and said, “For generations, our connection to the forest has been fundamental, from the cedar bark used in our traditions and day-to-day life to the trees that support our existence. These forests are not just resources—they are vital to our cultural identity and way of life. FESBC’s funding has been crucial in maintaining this. It’s allowed us to integrate sustainable management practices that respect our heritage while ensuring the forests remain vibrant and productive for future generations. This project doesn’t just benefit us economically through job creation—it helps maintain the health of our lands, which is priceless.”

The two projects on North Vancouver Island, supported through FESBC funding, are confronting the logistical and operational challenges in salvaging and transporting fibre, particularly from remote or hard-to-reach areas and are successfully managing to transport the waste fibre instead of piling and burning it.

“Forests are at the heart of our identity in B.C., and we are all responsible for ensuring their future,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “As we work to support a strong and sustainable forest sector, FESBC has played a pivotal role in helping get more fibre that would have previously gone to waste into the hands of mills across B.C. to be processed into usable products. These initiatives help get more value out of every tree and lower greenhouse gas emissions, all while supporting the hard-working people and businesses that make up our forestry sector.”

Confirming Minister Ralston’s remarks, the project is already showcasing the tangible outcomes of such initiatives. This project effectively recovered 35,000 cubic meters of waste fibre (equivalent to 15,493 CO2 emissions if burned, further equivalent to 3,300 cars off the road for a year), including low-value logs and short pieces of wood typically left to pile and burn or rot. This reduces potential wildfire fuel and significantly cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, plus smoke and ash.

Doug Mosher, CEO of Atli Resources, said, “The involvement, advice, assistance, and funding from FESBC has made an incredible contribution to the fibre supply for the chip plant. With FESBC funding, Atli Resources and its contractor have been able to salvage fibre that otherwise would be well beyond the chip plant’s economic range to transport it economically. This also has enhanced primary and secondary employment and other benefits to the environment and local economy.”

The benefits, as Mosher notes, extend beyond the immediate environmental impact. The operation of the chip plant and related salvaging activities has created 25 to 30 full-time ongoing jobs, providing stable employment and boosting the local economy. The influx of workers has led to increased demand for local services such as housing, food, and retail and has prompted contractors to invest in new equipment to handle the increased workload. Moreover, the project has helped more efficient forest regeneration by clearing the way for new seedlings, thus enhancing the sustainability of forest management practices.

Kurt Leroy, operations manager with Estero Peak Contracting Ltd., explained, “The help and the funding from the FESBC program has made it financially viable for Estero Peak Contracting Ltd. to salvage and haul logs from outside the usual Fibre Recovery Zone (distance wise). They have, therefore, been able to provide more jobs for members of the local communities at the north end of Vancouver Island.”

Beyond the multiple benefits this project has provided the ‘Namgis and the community, it has brought together several local companies, creating strong partnerships that boost both the economy and the environment. A critical contributor to the success of the project is Atli Chip LP. Atli Chip is jointly owned by Atli Resources, along with the local logging company Wahkash Contracting Ltd, and Paper Excellence, a pulp and paper company. Estero Peak Contracting Ltd, a local contractor, takes care of fibre salvaging, loading, and hauling the waste wood, and supporters like Western Forest Products and Mosaic Forest Management provide access to cutblocks for salvaging fibre. Paper Excellence purchases the pulp logs for the chip plant from forest licensees and various landowners and then purchases the residual chips and hog fuel (bark and small pieces of wood) from Atli Chip LP. This teamwork shows how working together can lead to major achievements in sustainable forestry.

Chris McGourlick, operations manager with FESBC, said, “Atli Chip LP is an excellent example of a First Nations-led partnership achieving multiple environmental, social and economic benefits. Removingresidual fibre and the corresponding reduction in burning activities contributes to a healthier local environment and additional economic activities. As we see harvest levels decrease across the province, partnerships like this are critical to providing stability to communities and local economies. The leadership that the Namgis are showing through Atli Resources and Atli Chip is highlighting ways to move forward as forest stewardship evolves in the province. FESBC is proud to partner with them as they work to improve the utilization of our forest resources.”

Looking ahead, Atli Resources remains committed to expanding its environmental and economic impacts through sustainable forestry practices. The company continuously seeks available fibre for chipping and plans to increase the operational capacity of the chip plant to double shifts whenever sufficient fibre is available. This will maximize productivity and the project’s environmental benefits.

According to Mosher, the waste wood salvaging projects are also set to continue, especially for the long-distance areas outside of the Ministry of Forests-derived Fibre Recovery Zones, relying on the ongoing support from FESBC funding. This sustained effort will ensure that less fibre goes to waste, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better protect communities from wildfire risk.

These comprehensive efforts further showcase the critical role of FESBC-funded projects in preserving the environment and strengthening the economic fabric of communities throughout B.C.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

FESBC’s Executive Director to Address Forestry’s Role in Rural Development at “Keeping it Rural” Conference

Kamloops, B.C. – The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is pleased to have its executive director, Steve Kozuki be a featured speaker at the Keeping it Rural conference. Hosted at the Four Points by Sheraton in Kelowna from May 21-23, this year’s conference will explore the theme “Sowing Seeds of Success: Cultivating Rural Economies.”

Kozuki has been involved with forestry in British Columbia since 1984 with roles such as Timber Valuation Coordinator for Weldwood, General Manager of Forestry at the Council of Forest Industries, and key positions within BC Timber Sales and Timber Pricing Branch and has led FESBC since 2017. This year, at the conference, Kozuki will share insights as a panellist on the Emergency Preparedness panel.

Photo: Steve Kozuki; photo credit: FESBC

“Forestry has been an unsung hero, often overlooked in its extensive capabilities to address environmental, economic, and social challenges, including challenges faced by rural communities,” Kozuki shared. “When it comes to wildfires, we work closely with partners like the BC Wildfire Service, Fire Chiefs, FireSmart BC and local communities and First Nations to help bolster community defences against the ever-growing threat of wildfire through thoughtful planning and collaboration. While a focus of our funded projects may be on wildfire risk reduction, our projects yield significant secondary benefits which include creating jobs, enhancing wildlife habitats, reducing greenhouse gases and creating recreational trails—all of which naturally contribute to strengthen local economies. I’m excited to share how integral forestry is to both rural sustainability and emergency preparedness on this year’s panel.”

The Keeping it Rural conference started first in 2015, is an essential gathering for economic development professionals and community leaders dedicated to encouraging sustainable development in rural communities. This year’s sessions will cover a range of topics including sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and innovative environmental conservation methods tailored for rural applications.

Sarah Sinclair, executive director of BC Rural Centre, explained what prompted them to approach Kozuki, and said, “FESBC was brought to our attention through board members in the Peace region of the province. After some brief research, it was clear to us that having Steve speak to our audience on the importance of forest enhancement and share FESBC’s success stories would bring great value. Our organization was founded as the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition (SIBAC), so any collaboration with organizations that are in the forestry sector, be it community forests, those who work in wildfire risk mitigation, or Indigenous forest stewardship, is a natural fit.”

This year’s conference will explore various critical topics, including an introduction to the BC Rural Centre Society, innovation in rural areas, advances in agricultural practices promoting food sovereignty, and essential discussions on water stewardship concerning riverscapes and watershed health.

“The conference is two half days and a full day with keynotes from Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band and Doug Griffiths author of ‘13 Ways to Kill your Community’ and more,” said Sinclair. “With panels on rural innovation, rural agriculture, water stewardship, and more there is something for everyone. The conference is geared for rural, remote, and First Nation communities, regional districts, non-profits, and other key stakeholders. But the content really lends itself to anyone who has a passion for living rurally and keeping it rural in BC.”

People can sign up for the conference at https://ticketstripe.com/keeping-it-rural-2024.

“It is a great opportunity for anyone interested in rural challenges, to hear rural success stories and share space with some amazing people,” concluded Sinclair.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Forest Enhancement Funding Boosts Sustainable Forest Management Efforts in Northwest B.C.

Terrace, B.C.: The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) continues to play a pivotal role in advancing sustainable forest management practices through its funding for wildfire risk reduction and fibre utilization projects across the province of British Columbia. Through funding initiatives, FESBC has been instrumental in most recently supporting three critical projects undertaken by NorthPac Forestry Group Ltd. (NorthPac). These projects have significantly enhanced forest operations while contributing to British Columbia’s carbon reduction goals.

While the three projects funded by FESBC for NorthPac are similar in nature, each has its own unique aspects. For instance, a portion of the fibre removed by NorthPac and Coast Tsimshian Resources LP (CTR) includes small-diameter tops and limbs, which were historically left in the forest. In securing funding from FESBC, NorthPac and CTR have been able to introduce a chipper in Terrace to recover significantly more wood waste material, contributing to more efficient forest management.

“Forests are at the heart of our identity in B.C., and we are all responsible for ensuring their future,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “As we work to support a strong and sustainable forest sector, FESBC has played a pivotal role in helping get more fibre that would have previously gone to waste into the hands of mills across B.C. to be processed into usable products. These initiatives help get more value out of every tree, increase wildfire resilience and lower greenhouse gas emissions, all while supporting the hard-working people and businesses that make up our forestry sector.”

Cathy Craig, CEO of NorthPac, highlighted the importance of FESBC’s support. “The Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s funding is crucial for NorthPac and our partners. Without it, we would not be able to economically move a significant portion of the wood fibre in the forest due to challenges such as the long distances to haul logs and low-value fibre. For instance, some blocks – or forest areas – consist of over 50 percent pulp, a lower-value wood fibre unsuitable for making more valuable products. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s financial support has helped us not leave this material behind to be burned, ensuring its more efficient utilization.”

Northwest B.C.’s forests are a testament to the region’s diversity, ranging from wetter coastal forests to drier areas more prone to wildfire. The absence of major sawmills and the limited presence of significant industry players necessitate innovative approaches to timber utilization. Local mills cannot process all the different species and log sizes in the region’s forests, resulting in a dynamic system of fibre distribution. Timber harvested in the region often follows various routes, including being supplied to local mills, transportation to the lower mainland and for export to other parts of the world.

Since partnering with FESBC, NorthPac has transported over 150,000 cubic metres of pulp logs and wood waste for utilization, significantly reducing carbon emissions that would have resulted from burning. Of the total transported material, a substantial portion of this fibre went to pulp mills in the lower mainland in the form of pulp logs and wood chips. Some of the material has gone to Drax to make wood pellets, and a small amount was used to produce squared-off logs, or cants, in Houston, B.C. Most recently, some of the wood chips were sent from Terrace to the Canfor pulp mill in Prince George via rail.

Andrew Burke, Director of Business Development with NorthPac, noted, “If this material had been burned as logging waste, it would have emitted upwards of 200,000 tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced by 61,273 vehicles in a year*.” 

The FESBC-funded projects have not only contributed to environmental sustainability but have also significantly benefitted the economy. Approximately 4,350 full-time equivalent days of employment have been supported, creating new job opportunities, and driving local economic growth.

Moreover, these projects are immensely important for Indigenous communities in the region.

Kelly Sampson, director of Coast Tsimshian Resources LP, noted, “The involvement of Indigenous communities in forestry projects is paramount to ensuring sustainable development and economic empowerment. Through collaboration with NorthPac and FESBC, we are strengthening our stewardship of the land while creating opportunities for meaningful participation and benefits for our people.”

Indigenous involvement and benefits are integral components of forestry operations in Northwest B.C. For example, CTR, owned by the Lax Kw’alaams Band, is the largest licensee in the Terrace area. Additionally, every road permit and cutting permit application undergoes review by the nations whose territory it overlaps, ensuring their input guides the operations.

Calvin Carlick, director of partnership and business development with the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation, said, “Tahltan Forestry recognizes the importance of responsible forestry practices on our territory. Through collaborative efforts with NorthPac and the support of FESBC, we strive to uphold our stewardship responsibilities while creating sustainable economic opportunities for our people. This partnership represents a meaningful step towards ensuring the health and vitality of our forests for generations to come.”

While the Lax Kw’alaams Band and Tahltan Nation are directly involved in the work on two of the projects, NorthPac also works directly with many of the Gitxsan Wilps (House Groups) who receive economic benefits from the logging that takes place on their Lax’yip (territories). Moreover, the Kitsumkalum are indirectly involved as the chips generated from the project are being loaded into rail cars at the Kitsumkalum rail yard.

In addition to benefiting NorthPac’s operations and some of the Indigenous communities in the region, the funding has had a positive impact on the operations of the Terrace Community Forest (TCF), as highlighted by Kim Haworth, RPF, General Manager of the community forest. Haworth noted, “The project, as I understand it, was for chipping the small diameter log that usually ended up in our burn piles. This was a desirable log for the chipping program and allowed Terrace Community Forest to increase utilization while reducing the size of our waste piles and carbon emissions by approximately 50 per cent.”

The ripple effect created through the funding has also resulted in employment opportunities for TCF’s logging crew and supervisor, contributing to local economic development. While specific numbers for employment created were not available, it was estimated to be in the neighbourhood of 150 days. Haworth further emphasized the importance of continuing such programs to further reduce wood waste, increase utilization, and create employment opportunities for the community forest.

Chris McGourlick, operations manager with FESBC, acknowledged Northpac’s initiative in fibre utilization and said, “Northpac has taken a leadership role in helping facilitate the utilization of fibre in the Skeena area. Their successful collaboration with their First Nation partners and local tenure holders is helping find new outlets to address the limited options available for low value and residual fibre. These new options help reduce greenhouse gas emissions through pile burning, provide a stabilizing influence for the local workforce and economy and maximize the utilization of our forest resources.”

As NorthPac navigates the complexities of forestry in Northwest B.C., Burke shared that an ongoing challenge was addressing more common misconceptions, especially the ones troubling recreation users. Burke believes it’s important for people to understand there are a set of higher-level plans that govern land use. These plans include the Kalum Sustainable Resource Management Plan, Kispiox Land & Resource Management Plan (LRMP), and Cassiar Iskut-Stikine LRMP, among others. There are also a few First Nations-developed Land Use Plans (LUP), such as the Gitanyow LUP that NorthPac follows.

“The important message here is that before companies even step foot in the forest to identify potential harvest areas, there are already a host of protections in place, such as Old Growth Management Areas, wildlife habitat areas, and protected scenic areas with Visual Quality Objectives,” noted Burke. This is in addition to the wonderful parks in the area that can never be harvested, such as Seven Sisters Provincial Park and Protected Area, Swan Lake / Kispiox River Provincial Park, and Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park, to name a few.”

According to Burke, it is also important for recreational users to understand the immense contributions made by forestry to the infrastructure development in B.C. through its contributions to building and maintaining the province’s extensive road and bridge network.

“Each year, we spend millions of dollars on infrastructure development and maintenance activities, such as plowing snow, grading roads, and repairing bridges. This infrastructure enables public access to recreational areas for activities like hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting. The industry’s substantial investment in infrastructure upkeep enhances public accessibility,” Burke asserted.

Today, NorthPac, which owns a licence in the Kispiox timber supply area, and jointly manages licenses owned by the Lax Kw’alaams Band, Tahltan Nation Development Corporation, and Haisla Nation (a combined annual allowable cut exceeding 1,000,000 cubic metres), remains committed to sustainable forest management and maximizing fibre utilization. This commitment is more attainable with the support of strategic funding from FESBC, despite the numerous challenges inherent to forestry operations in Northwest B.C.

* Per the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator: https://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/statistics/neud/dpa/calculator/ghg-calculator.cfm#results

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Osoyoos Indian Band and Mercer Celgar Work Together to Enhance the Use of “Waste Wood”

Oliver, B.C. – Aligning with the provincial government’s goal to decrease the burning of slash piles and increase the utilization of wood fibre that has traditionally been wasted, the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and Mercer Celgar (Celgar) are collaborating to rethink conventional practices. With funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), the collaboration is helping recover as much uneconomical residual fibre as possible from the OIB’s traditional territory.

This collaborative project is a strategic effort to capture all low value fibre that typically wouldn’t make its way to sawmills and was not economically feasible for non-sawlog products. For example, some of the fibre captured through this project will produce wood chips, and the material not suitable as chips will be used in a product called hog fuel, which will be used to generate electricity. Some of the residual fibre will be chipped in Midway and then sent to the Mercer pulp mill in Castlegar. 

“Initiatives like this help ensure the long-term health of B.C.’s forestry sector, and the families and communities it supports,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “By making paper and wood chips from trees that previously would have gone to waste or acted as wildfire fuel, the Osoyoos Indian Band and Mercer Celgar are helping get more value out of every tree harvested while also making our forests more resilient to the impacts of climate change.”

The project’s primary goal is to promote diversification and innovation within the supply chain to utilize uneconomical fibre that would typically go unused. By doing so, the collaboration seeks to reduce emissions from slash pile burning, normalize the higher levels of residual fibre utilization, and strengthen reconciliation efforts through collaboration.

Mills have long been adept at utilizing various types of residual fibres to create different products, but this project takes things a step further. To maximize fibre utilization, funding from FESBC is incentivizing tenure holders, excluding BC Timber Sales, and contractors to now consider forest stands that were historically deemed economically unviable to harvest. Celgar and the OIB are looking to examine the difference in cost between harvesting and selling pulp logs – a lower-value log that generally can only be used to create pulp for various products, including paper, tissue, and food packaging and to determine how operations can be modified to bridge the divide. By working together, they’re developing a cost model to help address the recovery of uneconomic fibre, ensuring this wood can be delivered to non-sawlog facilities, in essence, making sure it doesn’t go to waste.

According to Chris Longmore, Manager, Fibre Procurement, with Celgar, FESBC funding has gone towards utilization and rehabilitation from at least seven wildfire-impacted areas spread across the Arrow, Boundary, Okanagan, Kootenay, Revelstoke, and Golden timber supply areas, including the Octopus Creek wildfire which burned more than 22,000 hectares of forest and the Michaud Creek fire, which burned over 14,000 hectares of forest. To date, over 26,000 cubic metres of burnt logging residue has been recovered, loaded on a logging truck, and shipped to the Mercer Celgar facility in Castlegar rather than into a waste pile. That volume will continue to grow in 2024 as efforts continue to focus on utilizing fibre from burnt stands fibre.

“The financial support from FESBC has played a crucial role in bringing together project partners, particularly First Nations, to embark on this transformative journey. This funding highlights the importance of collective efforts in redefining forest management practices and sets the stage for a more sustainable future,” said Longmore.

The collaboration between Celgar and OIB with FESBC funding is helping to raise the bar for higher levels of fibre utilization, mitigating the impacts of climate change by reducing emissions from slash burning      and working in collaboration with First Nations.

According to FESBC Operations Manager Brian Watson, “This program not only provides opportunities for the logging community that is supplying the logs to the Celgar pulp mill, logs that would be burned, but the program is meaningfully reducing carbon emissions associated with the changed behaviour. By creating a wood product, approximately 64,000 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere will be avoided. This is the same emissions that 13,800 mid-sized vehicles would produce in 1 year.”

Revelstoke has seen a direct benefit, with $230,000 coming into the community as payment for the use of the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation log yard for this project. Many other communities in the southern interior are also indirectly receiving an infusion into their economy from this project through the logging community and the businesses that service them.

Currently, the project is 65 per cent complete, and even upon completion, according to Longmore, Celgar will continue to maximize the recovery and utilization of uneconomical fibre while reducing carbon emissions via collaboration with land tenure holders and their logging workforce in the southern interior. This change in culture to continue to pursue full forest utilization sets the stage for a lasting positive impact for both the forest industry and the environment.

Dan Macmaster, Forest Manager at the OIB, highlighted the significance of sustainable resource use for the OIB, stating, “Fibre utilization through proper forest management results in less burning of debris piles, cleaner air and waterways, and financial benefits from processing pulp volume that would normally be left behind. FESBC has provided the funding to help local contractors haul this volume over long distances to the Celgar mill, creating jobs, incentivizing fuel mitigation projects, and adding value to pulp fibre that would otherwise be burned.”

As the project aims to haul approximately 128,000 m3 by March 31, 2024, efforts will continue well into the future to maximize the recovery and utilization of uneconomical fibre.

“Managing the larger landscape for wildfire risk reduction, climate change adaptations, and mitigating insect infestations is critical to the OIB,” shared Macmaster. “This FESBC project has provided the means to meet numerous management objectives on our traditional lands.”

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Skeetchestn Indian Band partners with industry to make better use of slash, as featured in CFJC TV Kamloops

The Skeetchestn Indian Band (SIB), through Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation (SNRC), is taking the lead to deliver on sustainable forestry practices with a practical approach to the enhanced utilization of low-value wood waste. In a collaborative effort with funding support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) and operations expertise by Arrow Transportation Systems Inc., SNRC is showing the forestry sector the value of using every part of the tree in its operations.

The story of how the Band is partnering with various industry partners has been covered by CFJC TV Kamloops.

Read the story and watch the video here: https://cfjctoday.com/2024/01/31/skeetchestn-indian-band-partners-with-industry-to-make-better-use-of-slash/

A Local Interior First Nation Takes the Lead to Add Value to Low-Value Wood Fibre

Skeetchestn Indian Band and Industry Partners Working Together

Kamloops, B.C. – Within the vast landscape of British Columbia, an Interior First Nation is taking the lead to demonstrate the importance of forest rehabilitation and utilization aligned with First Nation values at the forefront. The Skeetchestn Indian Band (SIB), through Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation (SNRC), is taking the lead to deliver on sustainable forestry practices with a practical approach to the enhanced utilization of low-value wood waste. In a collaborative effort with funding support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) and operations expertise by Arrow Transportation Systems Inc. (Arrow), SNRC is showing the forestry sector the value of using every part of the tree in its operations.

Utilizing waste wood instead of pile burning it, thus reducing carbon emissions. Photo credit: Arrow.

Kúkpi7 Darrell Draney of the Skeetchestn Indian Band noted how the project aligns with the values of Indigenous Peoples. “For thousands of years, First Nations sought to discover ways to live with the land as equals. Skeetchestn sees this project as a successful way to uphold this long-held practice. We’ve always known and acknowledged that our relationship with the land is reciprocal. This land does not belong to us – we belong to the land.”

The SNRC-led project showcases a practical solution for the economic utilization of slash piles typically left after harvesting and burned. As a part of this project, Arrow successfully ground over 25,000 cubic metres of fire-affected wood, which is equivalent to over 450 truckloads of wood fibre, working closely with First Nation members, local woodlot owners, and ranchers to ensure project success.

“I applaud the Skeetchestn Indian Band, Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation, and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC for their leadership in reducing forest waste in B.C.’s forests,” said Bruce Ralston, Minster of Forests. “Projects like this help conserve vital ecosystems, increase wildfire resilience, lower greenhouse gas emissions, while supporting the people and businesses that make up this vital and thriving community.”

According to Greg Kilba, Division Manager with Arrow, the collaboration with the SNRC, Kruger, woodlot owners, local ranchers, government entities, industry partners, and FESBC has proven necessary to ensure projects of this nature are economically viable. The collective effort has not only generated well-paying employment opportunities for local people but has also established a more sustainable source of green energy by repurposing the slash piles.

“The convergence of these diverse collaborators with a shared objective to optimize the utilization of waste wood has fundamentally changed how forest managers look at slash piles, emphasizing a more resourceful approach,” noted Kilba, adding that Arrow’s values are closely aligned with those of SIB to foster a relationship built on shared principles of environmental stewardship, sustainable resource management, and community well-being.

Kilba also noted that both Arrow and the SNRC prioritize responsible forest practices, recognizing the importance of preserving ecosystems and respecting Indigenous values.

“The alignment of these values establishes a strong foundation for collaboration, ensuring Arrow’s operations are conducted in harmony with the Skeetchestn Indian Band’s cultural and environmental priorities. The funding provided by FESBC plays a crucial role in helping facilitate this alignment. By supporting projects that prioritize sustainable forestry, wildlife habitat restoration, and reduce wildfire risk, FESBC funding has enabled both Arrow and the Skeetchestn Indian Band to work together effectively, promoting shared values and contributing to the overall ecological health of the region.”   

Bringing the project together was not without its challenges, noted Mike Anderson, advisor and negotiator for SNRC. The SIB has advocated for years, insisting that the wood ‘waste’ be fully utilized. Their persistence was rewarded when the Provincial government agreed to help support the needs of the pulpwood industry, ensuring they were in alignment with the government’s legislation and policy around waste removal.

Gord Pratt, FESBC’s senior manager, said, “This project is proudly supported by FESBC. With Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation working collaboratively with Arrow and Kruger, we are seeing multiple benefits, including increased fibre utilization and improved wildlife habitat, resulting in healthier forest stands for everyone who values our forests across B.C.”

The SIB sees the project and its success as important for a couple of reasons. First, they don’t want to see wood fibre within their territory wasted or contributing to air pollution by being burned. Second, they are of the belief that if a tree is harvested, it should be fully utilized either on-site as a sawlog and wood chips or remain in the forest to contribute to wildlife habitat and soil-building processes. Skeetchestn band members recognize trees as their relatives, and as such, it is disrespectful to not utilize the full tree.

“There is still work to be done to help us more quickly and efficiently facilitate the utilization of wood fibre in our Territory,” said Anderson. “This project is a good start.”

The project area is located near Leighton Lake and Tunkwa Lake, where the low-value wood fibre was hauled to the Kruger pulp mill in Kamloops. For Kruger, this project is important as they are interested in continuing to work with First Nations through partnerships and believe that by working together, they can be part of the solution to reduce the wildfire hazard and produce value-added products such as the fibre from this project is utilized in their boiler system to create green energy.

“This whole operation was thought to be economically infeasible until FESBC got involved. However, once FESBC came to the table with their resources, we were able to make the project move ahead, and we ended up utilizing a lot of otherwise waste material,” said Anderson. “We are pleased to see something that was originally thought to be infeasible work out quite well for everyone involved, and we have respectfully utilized the bulk of all the trees that were sacrificed.”

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Truck Loggers Association Magazine Feature Story: Wildfire Strategies Waiting for the Phoenix to Rise

By Jean Sorensen

BC’s forest industry is waiting for the Phoenix, a new phase of forestry, to rise out of the ashes after devastating years of wildfires with 2023 seeing BC lose both older-aged stands and allowable annual cut. Once trusted forest management practices have come back to literally set the provincial forests on fire triggered by climate change. The question now facing BC is whether existing strategies (that have not always been embraced) plus new strategies will be implemented fast enough to stem BC’s large and intense wildfires.

Read the full story here

FESBC Board Chair Dave Peterson to Address Urgent Wildfire Concerns at the Truck Loggers Association Convention and the Role of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC

In a bid to highlight and address the challenges posed by escalating wildfire frequency in British Columbia, Dave Peterson, Board Chair of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), will be part of a distinguished panel at the Truck Loggers Association (TLA) Convention held in Vancouver from January 17 to 19. The panel will explore the crucial question: “With B.C.’s escalating wildfire frequency in recent years, is it imperative to ask if we can be doing better at risk mitigating and identify the requirements to make that happen?”

Graphic Credit: Truck Loggers Association LinkedIn

Expressing his anticipation for the event, Peterson emphasized the urgency of reassessing and enhancing current wildfire management strategies.

“I am very thankful that the Truck Loggers Association chose to include this panel and topic in the agenda for their annual convention; the urgency of improving our wildfire risk reduction strategies can not be overstated, and this platform provides an excellent opportunity to deliver that message to a wide audience. I am also very thankful that the TLA chose to include me, representing the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, in this panel,” said Peterson.

With a robust career that has included serving as the Chief Forester for the Province of BC and as the President of the Cariboo Lumber Manufacturer’s Association, as well as holding several other senior positions in the forest industry, Peterson brings a wealth of practical experience and industry knowledge to the discussion. Given Peterson’s extensive and distinguished background in forestry, his perspectives during the TLA panel discussion will offer a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand through the lens of a forestry professional steeped in forestry.

During the panel discussion, Peterson will provide a comprehensive overview of the FESBC’s pivotal role in addressing the escalating wildfire crisis. Known for its commitment to projects focused on wildfire risk reduction and fibre utilization by incorporating sustainable practices, FESBC has been at the forefront of funding projects throughout the province that manage the changing dynamics of wildfires. Peterson will share more about FESBC’s funded projects, exploring an overall potential for improvement and adaptation in the face of evolving challenges posed by climate change.

“I am very proud of the key, unique role that FESBC plays in wildfire risk reduction and believe it is important to communicate that role more broadly. My focus will be on describing the unique role of FESBC in risk reduction and its critical importance in helping B.C. pave the way for a more resilient and sustainable future in the midst of changing climate dynamics and human interaction with our forests,” Peterson added.

Peterson will also be highlighting FESBC’s ongoing efforts to navigate the intricate relationship between climate change, fire intensity, and the evolving human connection with forests. The society is strategically positioned to continue to play a crucial role in raising awareness while funding projects that work to address some of the causes of escalating wildfire incidents in the province.

Visit the FESBC website to get more insights into the work being done by FESBC and its project partners: www.fesbc.ca

Responding to the Climate Crisis in BC’s Forests in BC Forest Professional Magazine

In the winter issue of the BC Forest Professionals magazine, Colin Mahony, PhD, RPF, a BC Ministry of Forests Research Climatologist and Team Lead of the Future Forest Ecosystems Centre (FFEC*), has shared an opinion piece as part of a series on climate change and forestry. The first article in this series by FESBC Operations Manager, Brian Watson, was published in the Fall edition, titled “A practical case for utilizing low value fibre derived from logging”.

In the Winter Issue, Mahoney writes on how he sees a clear message for forest professionals: there is some level of climate heating where the impacts become overwhelming and adaptation measures fall apart, and we work on adaptation, we must also advocate for the conditions under which adaptation is possible — a stable climate.

He writes, “BC’s forest professionals are emerging as leaders in climate change adaptation. We also need to be leaders in securing the conditions
under which adaptation is possible.”

*The FFEC is a new scientific team in the Office of the Chief Forester that is focused on forecasting climate change impacts on BC’s forest ecosystems and their multiple values.

A First Nations-Owned Company’s Focus on Forest Rehabilitation through Wildfire Risk Reduction and Fibre Utilization

Williams Lake, B.C. – Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. (CCR), a First Nations-owned and operated company, has been making significant strides in the forest industry through their participation in wildfire risk reduction, stand rehabilitation and fibre utilization projects. CCR is a joint venture between the Tŝideldel First Nation and Tl’etinqox Government, both Tsilhqot’in Nation communities, dedicated to safeguarding the land through traditional Indigenous practices. Over the past few years, CCR has received vital support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), including recently announced funding for three fibre utilization and wildfire risk reduction projects.

These newly funded projects come as a result of the $50 million given to FESBC earlier this year by the Ministry of Forests aimed at increasing the use of low-value or residual fibre including trees damaged by recent wildfires and waste left on site after logging that would otherwise be burned.

“These projects will help keep communities safer from wildfire, create new jobs and provide much needed fibre for mills and bio-energy plants,” said Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston. “Better fibre utilization, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the spread of wildfires makes a real impact on improving the lives of First Nations, rural communities and forestry workers throughout B.C. Thank you to FESBC for leading the way on these vital programs.”

One of the projects CCR received funding for allows for the full utilization of trees and harvesting debris including tree tops originating from stands of dead trees killed by the mountain pine beetle years ago. This low value fibre will be hauled to facilities to turn into different products like electricity, pulp, and pellets instead of piling wood debris in slash piles and burning. The recovered fibre will help support the Cariboo pulp mill in Quesnel and the Drax pellet plant and Atlantic Power facility in Williams Lake.

Frankie Nelson, Business Manager of Atlantic Power, noted, “Historically, the Atlantic Power plant has almost exclusively consumed wood residues from local sawmills. The impact of the mountain pine beetle infestation, the area wildfires over the past few years, the reduction in the timber harvest, and the increased competition for fibre have reduced the availability of mill residues. Without a stable fuel supply, Williams Lake is at risk of losing its largest taxpayer, along with quality jobs and a local outlet for wood waste from area mills that aids in their competitiveness. CCR has been instrumental in sourcing and delivering an otherwise uneconomic fuel — roadside logging debris in part with FESBC. We have been able to not only create new jobs and procure a much-needed new fuel supply, but we are now utilizing a product that would otherwise be open-burned, and instead, we are turning wood waste into green energy.”

Through this utilization, CCR is making a meaningful contribution to the forest industries Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction efforts. Using 50 m3 of wood at the energy plant that would normally be slated for burning is equivalent to removing 1.8 medium sized vehicles off the road for one year.

“Over the last four years, close to one million cubic metres of fibre has been recovered in our region, and much of the recovery work was supported with funding from FESBC’s fibre utilization program. If not recovered, this fibre – which is equivalent to over 10,000 logging trucks of fibre – would either have been left behind and increased fuel for wildfires or burned in slash piles. Recovering the fibre results in both reduced wildfire risk and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Percy Guichon, executive director of CCR and councillor with Tŝideldel First Nation.

In another FESBC-funded project, the CCR team will work to rehabilitate the forests devastated by the Elephant Hill fire in 2017. By removing fire-damaged timber and fibre and transporting it to local facilities such as the Drax pellet plant and Atlantic Power Corporation in Williams Lake, and the Kruger pulp mill in Kamloops, CCR will be providing a safe working environment for planters who will reforest the area. According to Philippe Theriault, general manager of Tŝideldel Enterprises, “FESBC’s support has enabled us to maximize fibre utilization through innovative projects, not only reducing CO2e emissions from traditional slash-pile burning but also sustaining jobs in the pulp, pellet, and energy industries. This partnership exemplifies that positive outcomes are possible when organizations collaborate for the greater good of our forests and the rural communities they sustain.”

Apart from the work on fibre utilization, CCR has continued to improve wildfire resilience and reduce wildfire risk to the surrounding rural communities. An example is an upcoming project where CCR will work on a landscape-level fuel break adjacent to the Tl’etinqox reserve, Alexis Creek, and a significant portion of Highway 20, with FESBC funding. FESBC Senior Manager, Gord Pratt said, “FESBC is proud to work with CCR, who is a leader in taking the initiative to reduce the wildfire risk to many communities and increasing the utilization of fibre that for many years went to waste in smoke.”

CCR has completed over 40 kilometres of fuel breaks, where trees in planned landscape fuel breaks were carefully thinned or removed to reduce the fuels that would be contributing to potential fast-spreading wildfires, protecting First Nation communities and neighbouring communities of the Chilcotin. These fuel breaks involve a wide range of undertakings, surrounding hand treatments, fuel removal, spacing, and advanced silviculture, synchronized in a manner to reduce the wildfire risk while creating a resilient forest stand for the future. The complexity and challenge of these projects create wide employment opportunities, which helps support families that live on their traditional land base, something Tŝideldel and Tl’etinqox both completely support.

“As a professional forester deeply committed to First Nation-led Forest management, I am grateful to the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia and the Province of British Columbia. Their unwavering financial support for the past five years has been instrumental in the success of CCR. Together, we’ve achieved significant milestones in site rehabilitation, fire hazard reduction, and the construction of vital fire breaks around the Tŝideldel First Nation and Tl’etinqox Government communities,” said Theriault.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.