Why Planting Trees is Good for the Environment

By Steven F. Kozuki, RPF

The climate is becoming warmer. One reason for this is believed to be the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Like other greenhouse gases such as water vapour and methane, carbon dioxide absorbs heat from the sun. The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more heat is absorbed. Therefore, one way to take action on climate change is to use forests to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Carbon moves and changes all the time on planet Earth. It exists in the air, water, land, and every living thing. It moves around and back again in an endless cycle and forests are a significant part of this global carbon cycle. Growing trees use sunlight and water to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. At the same time, growing trees make a type of sugar and release oxygen. The carbon in the tree becomes part of the tree’s roots, stems, and leaves. This process of using sunlight to grow organic biomass is called photosynthesis and is the basis for most life on Earth.

The Paris Agreement is an international treaty to limit global warming. Article 5 of the agreement invites countries to take action and manage greenhouse gases in their forests. This is because forests absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen as they grow, and carbon is stored in the wood until it decays or burns. Therefore, planting more trees absorbs more carbon, and burning less wood emits fewer greenhouse gases. Further greenhouse gas benefits are also possible by using more wood in buildings and less concrete or steel, and by using wood to make green energy instead of using fossil fuels.

Most healthy forests have a positive carbon balance, absorbing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than they emit. However, severe events such as the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and the catastrophic wildfires of 2017, 2018, and 2021 in British Columbia can cause many trees to suddenly die and become greenhouse gas emitters.

Government reforestation projects involve planting trees in areas affected by natural disturbances. Compared with natural forest regeneration, planting accelerates the rate at which these areas return to being healthy growing forests. Healthy young forests have a positive carbon balance, drawing down more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit. However, when disturbances occur such as wildfire or insect attack, many trees die, tree growth decreases, decomposition rates increase, and the stands shift to having a negative carbon balance.

Forest carbon balance is quantified in units of “tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent” (tCO2e). This unit is used to describe the impact of all types of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and nitrous oxides, which are released by fire and are much more potent for global warming.

When determining if a potential forestry project is net carbon positive or net carbon negative, the BC Forest Carbon Initiative models estimate 1) how many tonnes of CO2e are absorbed or avoided, 2) the amount of CO2e expended to do the project, and 3) whether the project is over-and-above what would naturally happen.

By 2022, the projects funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC will have planted over 70 million trees, which, along with other FESBC projects, will generate a net positive 5.3 million tonnes CO2e, which is equivalent to taking 1.1 million cars off the road for a year. Planting trees on areas that otherwise would not have been reforested is a big part of the climate change solution. And in B.C., many climate change heroes are the hard-working women and men working in our forests.

Steven F Kozuki, RPF, Executive Director, Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.

Steven has worked within the forest industry since the 1984. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1994 and has held various positions from Timber Valuation Coordinator for Weldwood and General Manager of Forestry for the Council of Forest Industries, to working in BC Timber Sales and timber pricing for the BC Public Service. He is passionate about the work FESBC does to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of B.C.’s forests.

For an interview with FESBC regarding nature-based forestry solutions to take action on climate change, contact:

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison
Direct: 250 574 0221 | communications@fesbc.ca

Bioenergy Insight Magazine: Forest sector helps BC take action on climate change

Steve Kozuki, executive director of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, explains how FESBC is supporting the utilization of forest residual fibre in the September / October 2021 edition of Bioenergy Insight magazine.

Atlantic Power – Utilizing Residual Fibre

Since 2010, Bioenergy Insight “has swiftly built up a reputation for delivering quality news, analysis, market information and technical articles relating to the biomass, biogas and biopower industries. Published six times a year to coincide with leading industry events, it provides ideas and insights for its audience of bioenergy professionals. Within each issue you can expect to find up-to-date industry news, the most recent technical developments, exclusive interviews with plant operators, an in-depth analysis of a particular region, and a whole host of feature-length technical articles.”

Bioenergy insight has close relationships with industry associations, such as the European Biomass Association, the US Pellet Fuels Institute, the Renewable Energy Association and the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association and is delivered to over 18,000 readers.

To become a member and receive the Bioenergy Insight magazine, visit: New Member | Bioenergy Insight Magazine (bioenergy-news.com)

Read the full Bioenergy Insight – FESBC article, here:

B.C. Forestry Workers are Climate Change Heroes

~Acknowledging the Women and Men Taking Action on Climate Change~

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Climate change is a concern for many people around the world. In British Columbia, there are local people throughout the province taking action on climate change through their work in forestry. A new video is being released by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) during National Forest Week (Sept 19 – 25). It highlights nature-based forestry solutions that people in B.C.’s forestry sector are implementing to take action on climate change.

“Our goal was to provide an educational video to help British Columbians better understand the important role of forestry to help in the achievement of British Columbia’s and Canada’s climate change targets,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, Executive Director of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. “We also wanted to acknowledge and recognize people from First Nations, industry, community forests, and others who are doing innovative forestry work which is often unseen.”

When it comes to climate change, the video outlines two main approaches we can make: adapt or take action.

“One approach to tackle climate change is to adapt to increases in drought, wildfires, flooding, and other extreme weather occurrences,” said Kozuki. “We could as a society learn to adapt.”

The second approach is taking action to prevent, or at least limit, further climate change.

“To do that,” noted Kozuki, “We need to improve the management of greenhouse gases. International carbon accounting standards recognize that forestry helps mitigate climate change which makes our forests the biggest nature-based tool we have. The government of British Columbia has climate scientists and expert carbon modellers on staff who evaluate projects for potential greenhouse gas benefits and carbon expenditures to determine how much net benefit there will be.”

The video describes nature-based forestry solutions, including fertilization of trees and reducing the burning of wood waste after harvesting. Another solution is planting trees, a collaborative program with the Office of the Chief Forester which saw a significant number of trees planted throughout the province.

“FESBC was pleased to collaborate to help plant 70 million trees in the span of 5 years,” said Kozuki. “Many of these trees were planted in areas following natural disasters such as insect epidemics or catastrophic wildfires. The science tells us that reforestation is a significant way we can help mitigate climate change, and we have many in the forest industry to thank for that work.”

To see the video, visit https://bit.ly/ClimateChangeHeroes

For an interview with FESBC regarding nature-based forestry solutions to take action on climate change, contact:

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison
Direct: 250 574 0221 | communications@fesbc.ca

Northwest Forestry Project Sees Positive Environmental and Economic Benefits

HAZELTON, B.C. – utilization of residual wood fibre by coastal pulp mills has reduced pile burning and greenhouse gas emissions from the forested areas near Hazelton in northwest British Columbia. This work has contributed significantly not only to the local and provincial economies but also environmentally to assist in the achievement of British Columbia’s and Canada’s climate change targets. The project was supported by a $484,164 grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).

“Our FESBC-funded project allowed us to increase the overall recovery of fibre from our area forests, resulting in a greater availability of logs for domestic pulp producers and a reduction of the amount of biomass that is burned each year,” said Cathy Craig, CEO, NorthPac Forestry Group Ltd.

Residual waste wood fibre in the forest is typically legally required to be burned to reduce wildfire hazard, and, because this fibre has a low economic value, it is usually piled and burned. Leaving and burning pulp logs is, in many cases, the only solution as the incremental operational costs of skidding, processing, loading, hauling, and increased road maintenance is greater than the value of the fibre. This is especially difficult within the Kispiox area where there are minimal wood processing facilities and a forest dominated by low-value hemlock. The grant helped to create positive economic conditions for NorthPac which allowed Craig and her team to utilize the fibre and avoid burning.

All West Trading Inc’s log dump at Minette Bay at Kitimat

“The dollars allocated to us as a grant from FESBC provided us with operational certainty,” said Craig. “These dollars allowed us to commit to contracts with loggers and truck drivers, which further stimulated our local economy. Our crew at NorthPac is grateful for the grant and consider the project a great success.”

When piles of residual wood are burned, greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are released. If the piles are not burned and the fibre is instead utilized, then much of the greenhouse gas emissions are avoided.

The FESBC-funded NorthPac project will save approximately 42,000 cubic metres of pulp logs from being burned in the forest. That equates to approximately 1,050 truckloads of fibre not being burned and instead delivered to the point of sale in Kitimat. The pulp logs were purchased by All West Trading Limited and barged to coastal pulp mills to be used to make pulp, paper products, and green energy. Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Operations Manager is pleased with the overall outcomes citing it as a team effort of many forest sector professionals.

“The project was delivered by a team of local logging and trucking contractors, and it contributed to the regional economy of northwest British Columbia,” said Pratt. “This is a win-win because it not only creates economic benefits for local communities, but global environmental ones as well.”

Moe MacLean at Minette Bay with NorthPac logs destined for a coastal pulp mill

For information or an interview regarding this project, contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Taking Action on Climate Change: a First Nations + Industry Collaboration

CHETWYND, B.C.: a forest enhancement project to utilize wood waste in Northeast B.C. is wrapping up, but the social, economic, and environmental benefits will endure for the community of Chetwynd and many members of the McLeod Lake Indian Band. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) provided $299,759 in funding to a partnership project led by Duz Cho Logging of the McLeod Lake Indian Band and Canfor Energy North.

“FESBC was allocated $3 million from the provincial government as a part of its StrongerBC For Everyone: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to deploy to projects that would increase the utilization of wood fibre throughout the province,” said Ray Raatz, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “The submission from Duz Cho Logging and Canfor Energy North was well thought out and we collectively could envision how it might be a catalyst for more of this kind of work in the Northeast region of B.C.”

The project resulted in the utilization of low-grade residual wood fibre left over from harvesting operations in the Chetwynd area.  The current economics for recovery of this fibre is limiting. Funding from FESBC extends the economic reach by enabling recovery and utilization of the low-grade fibre from areas a greater distance from the facility using the fibre. Typically, without funding like this from FESBC, leftover wood fibre is piled and burned, but in this case the residual fibre was hauled to the Canfor Energy North Pellet plant in Chetwynd where it was chipped and used for pellet and energy production.

“We were very pleased with the opportunity to help take the lead in this project,” said Chris Hayward, Logging Manager, Duz Cho Logging. “One of our core principles at Duz Cho is we ensure the footprints we leave behind are the ones our children will be proud to walk in, and this project was definitely in alignment. The environmental benefits were significant because by avoiding pile burning, the result is fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The economic benefits were also significant in that we were able to provide employment for McLeod Lake Indian Band members. Not only are these good paying jobs to benefit our members and their families, but people have the opportunity to learn new skills while doing this hands-on work which is important.”

Don Rosen of Canfor Energy North agrees.

“This was an important project for many reasons, including the economic and environmental benefits Chris referred to,” said Rosen. “Not only was it an exceptional partnership with McLeod Lake Indian Band’s Duz Cho Logging Partnership, but the FESBC funding was the impetus for our company to do more of this work as this was our first residuals utilization project in the bush. The project helped to expand our capacity for what we can do as a company in the future to better utilize fibre from our operations and create additional revenue streams for our partners like Duz Cho. We also know there are downstream benefits of these projects for logging contractors and haulers/truckers. We look forward to doing more!”

The project helped to expand our capacity for what we can do as a company in the future to better utilize fibre from our operations and create additional revenue streams for our partners like Duz Cho.

Don Rosen, Canfor Energy North

In total, the project utilized 14,742 cubic metres of residual waste fibre, equivalent to 295 truckloads. Duz Cho Logging and Canfor Energy North employees were able to contribute to the Chetwynd economy through fuel, accommodation, and food purchases, as well as hiring local tradespeople to provide maintenance on equipment.

Chip pile and chipper one week after chipper start up – D. Rosen Photo

“This project was a great opportunity for members of the McLeod Lake Indian Band to participate in a project that helps utilize more of the wood fibre being harvested within the traditional territories. We are creating a greener, more sustainable environment.”

Chris Hayward, Logging Manager, Duz Cho Logging

As a part of the StrongerBC funding allocation, FESBC provided funding to 14 fibre utilization projects, including the Duz Cho/Canfor Energy project, in many parts of the province.

“Our project showed true partnership,” said Hayward. “So much happened behind the scenes in the planning and implementation and from start to finish it was truly a collaboration – a project in support of each other for the benefit of many.”

For information or an interview regarding this project, contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Project Partners

Accomplishments Update Highlights – 14 New FESBC Projects Throughout B.C.

Kamloops, B.C.: From the Province’s $1.5 billion StrongerBC For Everyone: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) received $3 million and funded 14 forestry projects throughout the province to increase the utilization of wood fibre creating many positive benefits.

“Projects funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC address a number of environmental, social, and economic priorities of British Columbians,” said Jim Snetsinger, RPF, FESBC board chair. “Forest enhancement projects achieve social, environmental, and economic aspirations of British Columbians. Investing in forests reduces our carbon footprint, reduces wildfire risks, enhances wildlife habitat, and creates jobs. It’s a win-win-win on all fronts.”

Moe MacLean is the scaler for All West Trading Ltd. where NorthPac is taking their logs.

The $3 million in funding helped to sustain approximately 100 forestry jobs this past winter to utilize wood fibre that is normally left behind after logging and burned in slash piles.

“Upon receiving word of the allocation, our team moved quickly to prepare and announce its seventh intake for funding applications,” said Snetsinger. “We were delighted with the quality and innovation shown in the proposals. It demonstrates the significant role the forestry sector plays in our province’s broader economic recovery, while at the same time helping to achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets.”

Codie Long, 3rd generation owner of Longs Logging Terrace, B.C. and Rich-Seymour, Operations Manager, Kitselas Forestry LP

In total, FESBC approved funding for 14 projects which have just been completed as of March 31, 2021.

LocationProject PartnerFESBC-Funding*
Boston BarInterwest Timber Ltd$13,000
ChetwyndDuz Cho Logging Ltd.$300,000
ClintonArrow Transportation Systems Inc$720,748
Fraser LakeThe Corporation of the Village of Fraser Lake$100,818
HazeltonNorthPac Forestry Group Ltd.$279,749
MassetHusby Forest Products$61,750
MackenzieEast Fraser Fiber$294,000
MerrittValley Carriers Ltd.$416,029
NazkoCariboo Pulp & Paper$134,897
PrincetonWestwood Fibre Resources Ltd.$6,000
SmithersPinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.$133,745
TerraceWestland Resources Limited$256,561
Williams LakeAtlantic Power (Williams Lake) Ltd.$199,603
Williams LakeElhdaqox Developments Ltd.$83,100
*approved FESBC-funding as of March 2021

The 14 projects sustained an estimated 100 forestry jobs to utilize about 233,000 cubic metres of wood fibre (approximately 4,600 truckloads) this past winter and the projects are estimated to help avoid 65,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking 13,000 cars off the road for a year.

Maverick Mueller, long-time Mackenzie resident and second generation logger, member of the Tsilqot’in First Nation

“Our Accomplishments Update report highlights these projects and the good work happening in B.C. forests,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, FESBC executive director. “Our report also features the people behind the projects. It is our opportunity to broadly share with British Columbians the good work not often seen or understood by non-foresters. As we like to say, in B.C. climate change heroes can often be found in the forest wearing hard hats.” 

Read the full FESBC Accomplishments Update

For more information or to arrange an interview with FESBC:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Three generations working in the grinding industry. From left to right: Mike Kilba, Benton Kilba, and Greg Kilba
Grinding work of residual wood fibre from harvesting operations in the Wells Gray Community Forest – G. Brcko photo

Wells Gray Community Forest Enhancement Project Achieved Through Collaboration & Innovation

Clearwater, B.C.: Many areas of B.C. are facing the challenge of a shortage of wood fibre that was more plentiful just a few years ago. Today, with many of the damaged mountain pine beetle stands harvested, wildfires and other factors, the scarcity of wood fibre supply has led the forestry sector to find innovative and collaborative ways to utilize the fibre that was previously piled and burned.

A project in the Wells Gray Community Forest (WGCF) in Clearwater, funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), has meant a homecoming for Greg Kilba, Division Manager Portable Wood Processing and Log Buying of Arrow Transportation Systems Inc. (Arrow), who grew up in the community and spent time raising his family there, too.

“Clearwater is a pristine and beautiful area I have many fond memories of and the Wells Gray Community Forest is a gem for the community,” said Kilba, now based in Kamloops. “When our team at Arrow first looked at a fibre utilization project in the Community Forest, there were many challenges – wet ground and large road ditches. There was a lot of fibre that could not be utilized by sawmills because of the amount of rotten wood typical of this type of stand. The Community Forest group’s goal was to log four cut blocks to help get a healthy stand of trees growing again. Together, we figured we could make economic sense of the project if we applied to FESBC for a grant. With the good news of an approval of a grant for $720,748, we developed a project plan for approximately $307,000 for the Wells Gray Community Forest, then got to work.”

Greg, his son Benton, his father Mike, and the rest of the Arrow team went back to the blocks in mid-October, taking the residual wood left over from earlier logging operations and ground it into hog fuel. Because of the planning of the project prior to harvesting, the WGCF was able to work with the logging contractors to build more accessible road systems to ensure Arrow’s grinder and trucks could access the slash piles.

“It was amazing to see trucks in the forest hauling out fibre,” said Kilba. “Early in my forestry career, I had contracts to burn slash piles like this. We would light up the piles and there was an amazing amount of energy coming from them. I had always wondered how we could harness that energy instead of wasting it. With the introduction of boilers that use this wood fibre, we now take this fibre we once burned and use it to create electricity. The grant from FESBC made it economically feasible to haul the material. Without this funding, piles of fibre would have otherwise been burned on site.”

Three Generations: Mike Kilba, Benton Kilba, and Greg Kilba

In total, Arrow ground 18,992 cubic metres of wood fibre, translating roughly to 350 logging trucks worth of wood fibre. The ground-up fibre was then transported to Domtar in Kamloops to generate electricity to run operations, with additional green energy being put back to the grid. The grinding project not only created an estimated 600 person days of work, or close to 5,000 employable hours, but by avoiding the burning of slash piles, the Clearwater airshed was spared smoke from fires, something George Brcko, WGCF General Manager, and many Clearwater residents appreciate.

“As a Community Forest, we can be nimble and innovative in finding ways to be collaborative and get work done,” said Brcko. “The grinding and hauling of these residuals meant that we didn’t have smoke hanging in our valleys from burning slash. Additionally, by removing the leftover wood fibre, this means we lessen the opportunity for a catastrophic wildfire in these areas.”

“Without FESBC filling the gap financially, this project would not have happened. This kind of collaboration and support of community forests is the way of the future and I believe just the tip of the iceberg in forest stewardship as we all work to do things better.”

George Brcko, Wells Gray Community Forest, General Manager

The WGCF has been an asset to the citizens of Clearwater as revenues generated from operations flow directly back into the community. Since 2004, almost $3 million has gone back into community projects like seniors housing, summer camps for kids, and accessibility projects like multi-use pathways, a boon to the community that BC Community Forest Association’s (BCCFA) Executive Director Jennifer Gunter applauds.

“As we work to grow the bioeconomy and make our communities and forests more resilient, FESBC is providing the missing link by enabling community forests and local entrepreneurs to partner on innovative projects like this,” said Jennifer Gunter, Executive Director of the BC Community Forest Association. “By supporting the utilization of residual fibre, multiple benefits are created for the communities, the forests and the province as a whole.”

Helping to fund and oversee the project on behalf of FESBC is Operations Manager Dave Conly.

“Arrow, in partnership with Domtar, has been able to develop great solutions with our local community forests, and by using fibre that would otherwise be wasted, they are creating well-paying jobs and assisting the Province in achieving climate goals,” said Conly. “Overall, FESBC projects will have generated 5.3 million tonnes of net carbon benefits which is equivalent to removing 1.1 million cars off the road for a year. Forestry is a great way to achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets, while at the same time create more jobs in the bioeconomy.”

“I absolutely love that Arrow found a way, in partnership with FESBC and our Community Forest, to utilize residual wood fibre or slash. Our local Forestry Working Group – a group comprised of City councilors, local government representatives and industry stakeholders – has long advocated for this kind of work to be done because of the countless benefits: the economic benefits of good paying jobs for people, the social benefits when steady employment is available and smoke is removed from our airshed, and the environmental benefits when wood fibre is optimally used to reduce our carbon footprint.”

– Merlin Blackwell, Mayor of Clearwater

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

To arrange an interview with FESBC, Wells Gray Community Forest or Arrow contact:
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221