More burning needed to protect forests

Proper fuel mitigation will require a substantial investment from all levels of government

Kelly Sinoski, 100 Mile Free Press – November 12, 2021

The public will have to change their mindset around burning and logging in their “backyard” forests to prevent wildfires in the future, according to the 100 Mile District land manager.

Pat Byrne, 100 Mile district manager for B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development, said wildfire suppression and outdated forestry management practices over the past 150 years have made local forests “unnatural,” increasing the risk of interface fires with excessive fuel on the ground and thickly wooded canopies resulting in hot, intense and prolonged fires.

Pat Byrne, 100 Mile district manager for BC Ministry of FLNRORD

In the past, Indigenous or regular burning of the landscape every 15 -20 years meant forests were more open and there was less flammable fuel, including live or dead plants on the ground, making it harder for fires to get into the tree tops.

“We’ve got to get these ecosystems back to their natural functioning conditions, we’ve taken them away from that,” Byrne told attendees on a field trip to the 100 Mile District Community Forest last Thursday, Nov. 4. “We’ve changed conditions to make it unconducive to human habitation and wildlife.”

Byrne noted the fuel mitigation treatments at the Community Forest – a 20,000-hectare swath behind Imperial Ranchettes off Horse Lake Road – is a start to “kind of bring the (forests) back.”

Over the past three years, about $1.3 million, funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FES), has been spent at the community forest and the 100 Mile District woodlot near the 99 Mile ski trail and railroad to remove fuels and thin trees to open up the landscape. FES was created by the province five years ago with a mandate that includes reducing wildfire risk to communities.

Byrne said the 2017 wildfires, which led to countless evacuations in the South Cariboo and cost the BC Wildfire $649 million to fight, demonstrated the need for fuel treatments in B.C. forests. “In the three or four days after the fires got ripping, we had a conversation about ‘holy crap we’ve gotta do something now,’” he said.

100 Mile District Mayor Mitch Campsall agreed “2017 woke us up and 2021 gave us another big wake-up call.”

This past summer, 263 fires burned in the Cariboo Fire Centre, covering 129,591 hectares in the region. The fires, following a prolonged heatwave, resulted in evacuation alerts and across the region. The Build-Up Index (BUI) in 2017 showed the total amount of fuel available for combustion in the Cariboo was above 90, reaching up to 200 in the Chilcotin, indicating the fuels were “dry enough to sustain a persistent, deep-burning wildfire,” according to BC Wildfire Service. The BUI was 90 and up to 160 in 2021.

Forester Dan Bedford, of DWB Consulting which is contracted to do the work in the community forest, noted the local forest around 100 Mile was not like this 50 years ago, with so much flammable fuel on the ground and tiny “ladder trees” that carry intense flames to the top of the crowns. When that happens, crews can’t fight the fires, he said. “It’s absolutely scary the amount of energy coming off it.

Keith Bleeker lights a pile of fuel at the 100 Mile District Community Forest

“These are not sticks, these are fine fuel. These are the fuels that dry out in a long hot summer and are available to burst,” Bedford said, referring to varying pieces of wood. “We get this stuff off the ground as much as possible. We put them in piles and get rid of it.”

Bedford credited the late Steve Capling, a professional forester, for setting up the treatments in the community forest and helping to pioneer a treatment where a buncher weed-eats the tiny ladder trees and bunches them, while an excavator piles the fuel in the treatment area. The idea is to space out the trees, while also making it safer for crews to get in and fight the fires.

Much of the pulp and fibre, as well as a significant portion of the residual waste fibre from the forest was taken to the Williams Lake Cogeneration Plant to be used as biomass for electricity, while other fuels are either logged or stacked to be burned.

Joanne Doddridge, Mayor Mitch Campsall, Bill Hadden, Pat Byrne and Dave Bedford

Bedford noted there are about 2,000 piles in the area, The community forest will also require maintenance in the next 10 to 15 years, as more tiny trees grow up. He agreed there has to be a return to the old ways when “we’d have fires and fires and fires and still have forests when they were done.” If worse came to worst, he said, a backburn could now be lit in the community forest to protect local homes.

FES executive directive Steve Kozuki noted the recent situation in Logan Lake, where the Tremont Creek wildfire raged toward town, showed the importance of fuel mitigation. The town created a fuel break – spacing out crowns and removing ladder and ground fuel – to reduce the fire’s intensity. They also lit a backburn to allow the fire to creep along the ground and burn out.

Byrne said he has received “messaging” that “we can’t put all the investments in suppression efforts. We’ve got to put efforts into the prevention work. That’s why this was successful. The collaboration from all of the people here is the only thing that made it successful.”

However, Bill Hadden, Community Forest manager for the 100 Mile Development Corp., noted it will take money and political will to treat the local landscape. Although close to 400 hectares of the Community Forest was treated in the past three years, this is only 10 per cent of what should be done, and doesn’t include the local Timber Supply Area (TSA) in 100 Mile House.

Bill Hadden, Community Forest Manager, 100 Mile Development Corp.

“Across the 100 Mile TSA, the numbers are staggering and it’s going to take a huge commitment from senior levels of government to make it work.”

Bill Hadden, Community Forest Manager, 100 Mile Development Corp.

Byrne agreed there are “thousands and thousands of hectares” that require treatment and maintains the forest must be managed for the ecosystem – ensuring it’s resilient to pests and drought to provide habitat for wildfire – and extract the fibre from that, rather than the other way around.

“This kind of wildfire-resistant barrier has to be expanded and we have to carry that on for the rest of our forest management across the land base,” he said. “It has to be targeted at protecting those ecosystems so they can have natural function and not our version of what a pristine forest looks like.

“I hope we really run down that path hard now.”

Cariboo Regional District Chair Margo Wagner said the community forest has tremendous benefits.

“When you manage to fire smart in areas after the fires we’ve had go through in 2017, 2018 and now this past summer, it makes it more important,” she said. “The fires are scary as we all know. Any work that can be done in conjunction with the community or the municipality makes it a real bonus exercise.”

Read Kelly Sinoski’s full article in the 100 Mile Free Press, here:

https://www.100milefreepress.net/news/more-burning-needed-to-protect-forests/

For more stories on FESBC funding partners near 100 Mile House contact:
Aleece Laird, FESBC Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Low Grade Wood = High Grade Benefits

The Logging & Sawmilling Journal is featuring one of the Forest Enhancement Society’s project partners, Seaton Forest Products, in its September / October 2021 edition.

From the article: “Seaton Forest Products has a focus on utilizing low grade wood at its mill operation in the B.C. Interior, and it’s generating some high grade benefits from fibre that no one else wants – dry, decadent balsam.”

“Seaton Forest Products’ ability to turn ‘wasted’ wood into viable products, reduce carbon emissions and create jobs mostly for aboriginal workers attracted the interest of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC). FESBC, with the support of the…government, invested $2.5 million in Seaton Forest Products in 2018 to support a three-and-a-half-year long project.”

Logging & Sawmilling Journal September / October 2021

Read the full story in the Logging & Sawmilling Journal here, beginning on Page 24: www.forestnet.com

Executive Director’s Newsletter Oct. 2021

We have developed a monthly newsletter to curate the good news stories we share throughout the province featuring FESBC-funded projects which are seeing excellent economic, social, and environmental benefits. Stories are shared in collaboration with our project partners. We’ve had the opportunity to share FESBC-funded project stories from throughout our province through our NEW Climate Change Heroes video and in collaboration with National Forest Week. Our projects have been featured in local, provincial, national and international publications which help build social license for the exceptional forest enhancement work throughout our province.

Read this month’s Executive Director’s Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest newsletter in your inbox every month!

Watch the BC Forestry Workers are Climate Change Heroes video on Vimeo!

B.C. Forestry Workers Are Climate Change Heroes Brochure

BRITISH COLUMBIA— Climate change is a concern for many people around the world. In British Columbia, there are local people taking action on climate change right here in our forests.

One approach to tackle climate change is to adapt to increases in drought, wildfires, flooding, and other extreme weather occurrences. As a society, we could learn to adapt.

The second approach is to take action to prevent or at least limit further climate change. To do that, 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.

Trees will absorb carbon dioxide once they start growing and will continue to absorb carbon for many years. Planting trees that otherwise would not be planted, usually following natural disasters such as insect epidemics or catastrophic wildfires, is a significant way to help mitigate climate change. We can also fertilize trees to help them grow faster and therefore absorb carbon dioxide faster. And finally, we can reduce the burning of wood waste so there are less greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions profile from the open burning of wood contains not only carbon dioxide but also very potent greenhouse gases including methane and nitrous oxide. Using the wood instead of burning it helps reduce these greenhouse gases.

Our B.C. Forestry Workers Are Climate Change Heroes brochure highlights several local climate change heroes working on projects funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. We also invite you to watch our newly released B.C. Forestry Workers Are Climate Change Heroes Video so that you can support the action being taken on climate change by sharing it with the people in your networks.

Together, we can all be Climate Change Heroes.

Watch the Climate Change Heroes Video

Read more about Climate Change Heroes

For an interview with FESBC, contact:
Aleece Laird, FESBC Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Taan People Create Spaces for Wildlife in Haida Gwaii

HAIDA GWAII, B.C.— over the last two years, Taan Forest Limited Partnership (Taan Forest) has utilized over $1.6 million in funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to support two projects focused on ecological restoration of close to 300 hectares of riparian and habitat area in Haida Gwaii.

The first project focused on restoring close to 185 hectares of riparian area along the Yakoun River, which is close to 60 km long and the largest river on Haida Gwaii.

These riparian areas along the river, also referred to as benches, are identified as red and blue-listed ecosystems under the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order (HGLUOO) and contain protected areas for fish habitat and a 100-year flood plain. Activity included spacing trees farther apart, the creation of snags (standing dead trees), and the initial introduction of coarse woody debris (large pieces of wood) to begin mimicking the natural processes of riparian areas.

Planting Western red cedar along Yakoun River where heavy equipment and past logging practices scoured the bank so badly only alder came back as a pioneer

“That river system was historically logged right up to the water and used to transport logs,” said Jeff Mosher, RPF, Chief Forester, Taan Forest. “These big rivers need biomass input to create small log jams to keep the pools stable in the river ecosystem and along the banks. Right now, the river is missing these big trees that support the bank, wildlife, and trees that would eventually fall into the river and provide structure and create habitat in the river.”

The goal is to manage second growth spruce and cedar trees to create large root and branching structures using these long-lived tree species. This management helps trees grow larger faster than they would naturally, strengthening the stream bank and providing large organic debris input to the edges of the river.

These over-dense conifer stands are less diverse than old growth stands. Opening the stand, creating snags, and stressing trees are some of the tools used to mimic an old growth stand in a shorter time frame. Snags created in riparian areas attract wood-boring insects which attract birds, and stressed trees produce seeds which attracts birds and squirrels. These prey species then draw predators like the Haida Gwaii goshawk (Stads k’un), the National Bird of Haida Gwaii and a sub-species in danger of extinction.

“FESBC has a deep respect for the Haida people, the connection they have with the land and waters, and their strong desire to improve wildlife habitat,” said Dave Conly, RFP, Operations Manager, FESBC. “FESBC is delighted to assist the Haida’s company Taan Forest in completing these important habitat restoration projects and to learn more about how important these Taan Forest projects are to the Haida people in achieving their goals.”

This project created about six months of full-time employment including employment of a crew of 10 Old Massett people hired by Old Massett Village Council who completed the riparian work—supervised by riparian specialists.

“The crew from Old Massett did fantastic work and Taan Forest aims to continue to build restoration opportunities for Old Massett and other Haida Gwaii communities to replace jobs lost from a reduced logging industry on Haida Gwaii,” said Mosher.

Taan Forest Crew (Left to Right): Clarence Thompson, Ed Davis, Sophie Simons (Riparian Specialist), Charlie Thompson, Dustin Edgars, Vernon White, Todd Russ, Eri Foster (Riparian Specialist), Ron Hamilton. Taan Forest would like to acknowledge the passing of crew member Charlie Thompson and express our heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends.

The second FESBC-funded project focused on spacing trees and pruning the lower branches in overly dense conifer stands to create and enhance the northern goshawk forage habitat.

“The northern goshawk has a forage [feeding] range with a 5.2 km radius so we’re targeting the spacing in those areas to allows the trees to grow faster,” said Mosher.

Reducing the number of trees creates open flight paths between trees for goshawk, bats, migratory and resident birds, and allows sunlight to reach the plants on the ground which increases brush and berry development. This results in increased food for the small animals which the goshawk depends on as a food source.

Spacing and pruning was completed by additional crews from local communities on Haida Gwaii including Old Massett and Skidegate.

A small diameter over dense conifer stand – post treatment

The overall goal of both projects is to create structure for key species of wildlife on Haida Gwaii.

“The hope is this will create more forage and canopy structure for goshawk and snags for saw-whet owls while also benefiting many other wildlife species,” said Mosher.

“Without the FESBC funding we wouldn’t have been able to do the work we’ve done so far and start an initiative for more restoration work.”

Jeff Mosher, RPF, Chief Forester, Taan Forest

“Without the FESBC funding we wouldn’t have been able to do the work we’ve done so far and start an initiative for more restoration work. It’s significant towards reconciliation with the Nation and to restoring areas impacted by war-effort and pre-Forest Practices code logging.”

For an interview with Taan Forest, send requests to:
Sonia Rice, HaiCo Senior Executive Assistant | Sonia.rice@haico.ca

For an interview with FESBC, contact:
Aleece Laird, FESBC Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

About Taan Forest Limited Partnership: Taan Forest is a forest management company, a subsidiary of HaiCo (Haida Enterprise Corporation), a company wholly owned by the Council of the Haida Nation and the Secretariat of the Haida Nation. The Haida Nation saw the necessity to have a direct voice and management authority in managing the forest practices on Xaayda Gwaay.yaay/Xaadáa Gwáay Haida Gwaii. Shortly after HaiCo was incorporated in 2009, Taan Forest was born in 2010 as an enterprise through which the stewardship of these forests could be managed with Haida values.

Executive Director’s Newsletter SEPT. 2021

We have developed a monthly newsletter to curate the good news stories we share throughout the province featuring FESBC-funded projects which are seeing excellent economic, social, and environmental benefits. Stories are shared in collaboration with our project partners. We’ve had the opportunity to share FESBC-funded project stories from throughout our province through our NEW Climate Change Heroes video and in collaboration with National Forest Week. Our projects have been featured in local, provincial, national and international publications which help build social license for the exceptional forest enhancement work throughout our province.

Read this month’s Executive Director’s Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest newsletter in your inbox every month!

Dave Conly, Operations Manager, FESBC, Aaron Higginbottom and John Walker, Williams Lake First Nation featured in the Forestry Workers are Climate Change Heroes video.

For an interview to find out more about FESBC or good news stories, please contact:
Aleece Laird, FESBC Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

Wildfire Risk Has Been Reduced to Protect a Kootenay “Jewel”

Greenwood, B.C. – a popular recreational area 20 minutes north of Greenwood is now safer for people thanks to a forestry initiative. A significant amount of burnable wood was removed, while also protecting some old growth trees, providing employment, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A 32-hectare area in the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) where the project work was done is situated by popular Jewel Lake. Thanks to a grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) for $254,100, the project reduced amounts of flammable wood, which increased safety for residents and visitors in the event of a fire.

“This project has been very collaborative from the start,” said Ross Elliot, Director on the Board of the WBCF. “We have consulted with our First Nations partners from the Osoyoos Indian Band who did initial field visits and supplied crews to do some of the hand treatments. We have connected with leaders from the Jewel Lake Environmental Protection Society, BC Parks, and Vaagen Fibre Canada. This project has shown how when we engage various groups, we get some of the best ideas coming forward in how to work together. We are appreciative of FESBC for the grant which got this project going in the first place.”

The FESBC grant enabled wildfire risk reduction and, at the same time, assisted in using waste wood which otherwise would have been piled and burned. The outcome for locals and tourists alike is the opportunity to not only enjoy interpretive hiking trails, but also the added comfort knowing emergency services have increased access to the area.

“With the FESBC funding for this work, we are able to better protect area homes and recreational infrastructure from a catastrophic wildfire while maintaining the aesthetics across the landscape.”

Dan Macmaster, RPF, Forest Manager, West Boundary Community Forest

“We’ve gone through a challenging summer with wildfires in many parts of the province and close to home here in the Kootenays,” said Dan Macmaster, RPF, Forest Manager of the West Boundary Community Forest. “With the FESBC funding for this work, we are able to better protect area homes and recreational infrastructure from a catastrophic wildfire while maintaining the aesthetics across the landscape. The onerous task of removing fuels while preserving old growth trees would not have been possible without FESBC funding.”

Pleased with the level of collaboration and work that has been accomplished to date is Gord Pratt, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC.

“The accumulation of flammable wood in the forest resulted in the Jewel Lake area being classified as a fire-susceptible-ecosystem. The build-up of fibre was due in part to decades of fire suppression activities in the area,” said Pratt. “The initial work to engage community stakeholders created the local support and understanding of the scope of work required to better protect communities from wildfires. The project has shown that wildfire risk reduction work coupled with community engagement can achieve positive win-win environmental and social benefits.”

The West Boundary Community Forest employs 100% of its contractors from rural communities, creating revenue for the local economy. Fibre removed from the project site will be hauled to the Midway Chipper yard with sawlogs sold to the local mills of Vaagen Fibre Canada and Interfor. Fibre that cannot be safely transported will be scattered on site at low density and logging debris unable to be hauled or spread will be put in a burn pile and disposed of this fall.

For an interview with FESBC, contact:
Aleece Laird, FESBC Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

For an interview with the West Boundary Community Forest, contact:
Dan Macmaster, West Boundary Community Forest Manager | dmacmaster@vaagen.ca | 250.528.0344

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

Logan Lake hoping to step up fire mitigation efforts with funding from Forest Enhancement Society of BC

CFJC News is highlighting how the work that Logan Lake did to become FireSmart helped the town survive a catastrophic wildfire. FESBC has funded several projects in and around Logan Lake and Steve Kozuki, FESBC Executive Director, was on hand to talk about the role of fibre utilization.

From the story:

“It’s been well-documented this summer how FireSmart initiatives in Logan Lake helped save the community from the raging Tremont Creek wildfire. Logan Lake was Canada’s first FireSmart community in 2013. However, such efforts have been going on since 2003…

‘When the communities do these treatments and it results in woody fibre, biomass, we like to see projects where that biomass is used to create green energy for British Columbians or even exporting around the world in the form of pellets, or in the case of electricity it can be sold to Alberta and other provinces,’ said Steve Kozuki from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC.”

The full story and video can be found on the CFJC website, here: Logan Lake hoping to step up fire mitigation efforts with funding from Forest Enhancement Society of BC | CFJC Today Kamloops

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:

Kamloops This Week – 2021 National Forest Week Publication Features FESBC Projects

Kamloops This Week has several stories in their 2021 National Forest Week publication featuring FESBC projects to help celebrate National Forestry Week.

The FESBC stories include:

  • Planting Trees is good for the environment (featuring FESBC’s Executive Director, Steve Kozuki on page 3)
  • Wells Gray Community Forest Enhancement Project (Page 4)
  • Slashing Wood Waste and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Nicola Valley (Page 8)
  • An Update of Forest Enhancement Accomplishments (Page 10)

View the publication here: 2021 National Forest Week publication

For more information and media enquiries, please contact:

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

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

120 Communities Throughout B.C. Reduce their Risk from Wildfire – Kootenay Region

KOOTENAY REGION, B.C. – many Indigenous communities, municipalities, regional districts, woodlots, and community forests have taken action in the last few years to protect their communities from wildfire. Using funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) these project partners first create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) or a Community Resiliency Protection Plan (CRPP), which identifies the location of buildings, communications infrastructure, water, power, safe places, and emergency escape routes. Then based on the amount of woody fuel risk, the CWPP or CRPP prioritizes which treatments should be done first.

“The key goals of the Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning process are varied,” said Gord Pratt, RPF, Operations Manager FESBC. “Goals include increasing communities’ capacity and understanding of wildfire risk, fostering greater collaboration across administrative boundaries, and being more responsive to the needs of different types of communities throughout B.C. in terms of their size, capacity, and the threats they face.”

Wildfire risk mitigation planning and treatments can be quite different depending on where in the province a project is located. 

“Wildfire treatments will often space trees far apart and remove low branches in order to keep a fire on the ground and to reduce the amount of wood in the forest, so it doesn’t burn as hot. This makes it easier to fight the fire,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, Executive Director of FESBC. “But every community is different, and some communities have chosen to encourage the planting of broad-leaved trees in specific areas because they are often more fire-resistant.”

Since inception, FESBC has provided nearly $57 million to fund 124 wildfire risk reduction projects. These projects have not only reduced wildfire risk to 120 communities and rural sub-divisions but have generated an estimated 483 jobs (full time equivalent jobs created) and 43 of these projects have involved, or have been led by, First Nations.

“We wanted to share with residents in the region some of the wildfire mitigation work FESBC has funded in the area,” said Kozuki. “We’ve enclosed descriptions of 40 projects in the Kootenay region to provide a deeper look at the important work that has been done. Although many of the project leaders are currently working on fighting fires and unfortunately not available for interviews at this time, our team at FESBC is ready to share additional project details or answer questions media or citizens may have.”

In addition, when it comes to wildfire mitigation work, the BC government has a wildfire risk reduction funding program called Community Resiliency Investment Program (CRI) which is a partnership with the First Nations Emergency Services Society, the Union of BC Municipalities, the Ministry of Forests, and others, including FESBC. The CRI Program has been spear-heading the FireSmart initiative to educate homeowners about actions they can take to protect themselves, such as cleaning gutters and removing flammable materials outside of homes and businesses. Other funding programs to reduce wildfire risk are administered by the Columbia Basin Trust and the BC Community Forest Association.

For information or an interview regarding these projects, contact:

Steve Kozuki, Executive Director | skozuki@fesbc.ca | 250.819.2888

Moose Food Enhancement Project in the Skeena Region Receives Part of $9.3 Million Funding

Smithers, B.C.: for 40 years, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has helped fund conservation groups, government, Indigenous Nations, and local communities to implement projects that protect B.C.’s wildlife, freshwater fish, and the habitats they need to survive and thrive. This year, HCTF awarded $9.3 million in funding for 175 individual conservation projects throughout British Columbia.

HCTF’s CEO Dan Buffett is pleased to report that the 2021/22 grant season represents the Foundation’s highest record annual investment and reflects the financial contributions and hard work of many British Columbians that fund and implement these projects. To date, HCTF has funded 3,230 conservation projects and granted over $195 million in funds across the length and breadth of this ecologically diverse province.

One such project is led by the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club. The Lake Babine Area Moose Winter Range Enhancement project received $107,847 in funding and will increase winter moose browse supply and availability near Smithers, B.C.

In many parts of northwestern B.C., moose populations have been in decline due to several cumulative factors, and the loss of quality moose forage supply is directly correlated to declining moose numbers. To address this issue, a percentage of Scouler’s Willow has been manually felled and “hinged” to improve stump and tree sprouting while also providing on-the-ground forage for moose. This treatment increases the amount of winter food currently available and improves the growth of the plants for years to come. The unroaded treatment area is connected to other valuable winter range areas for moose and supports fire risk reduction objectives for the Lake Babine Nation. In addition, a follow up study will guide future activities in terms of seasonal timing and methodology.

“This work would not be possible without the financial contribution of HCTF, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), and the Forest Employment Program,” said project manager, Len Vanderstar. “720 hectares of Scouler’s Willow sites have been treated within the Lake Babine area this year alone and is expected to enhance forage supply of treated vegetation by up to four times for up to 15 to 20 years.”

Other HCTF-funded projects taking place in the Skeena Region include:

  • $50,000 to restore and replant Whitebark Pine Ecosystems, co-funded by FESBC.
  • $53,603 to restore fish passages at road, rail, and stream crossings along the Bulkley River Watershed.
  • $34,000 to research Mountain Goat range boundaries, habitat selection, and population dynamics, co-funded by FESBC.
  • $42,000 to assess species composition, distribution, and exploitation rate of Bull Trout and Dolly Varden in both the Nass and middle Skeena Rivers.
  • $24,062 for a Taku River Tlingit First Nation’s led initiative, monitoring habitat use, migration and health of Tawéi (Tlingit word for thinhorn sheep) near Atlin.

Funding and support for these projects and others across the province come from a wide variety of sources including public groups such as the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF), partner organizations like FESBC, provincial government contributions, court fines, and endowments. A significant source of funding comes from the conservation surcharge paid by B.C.’s anglers, hunters, trappers, and guide outfitters.

“Over 40 years ago, a group of concerned hunters and anglers, lobbied for a surcharge on hunting and fishing licenses to fund wildlife and fish habitat improvement projects throughout the province,” said BCWF president Chuck Zuckerman. “The result of this impassioned call from B.C.’s hunters, anglers, trappers and sport shooters formed a new fund in 1981 that subsequently evolved into the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.”

Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC, has been pleased to be a partner with HCTF.

“We are proud to partner with HCTF and local experts on the ground throughout British Columbia to improve wildlife habitat,” said Kozuki. “HCTF combines wildlife biology expertise with their excellent management of funds to deliver outstanding benefits for wildlife. With all the pressures on the land base, the good work HCTF does is more important than ever.”

Each project funded by HCTF goes through a multi-level, objective and technical review process prior to final Board review and decision. HCTF’s Board of Directors ensure that species important to B.C. anglers and hunters are supported but also place a great deal of importance on conserving whole ecosystems, species-at-risk, and investing in environmental education across the province.

To see the complete list of HCTF funded projects or explore the conservation work being done near you, view the 2021-22 Approved Project List.

For Interviews:

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation
Craig Doucette, Communications Officer |
Direct: 250 940 3012 | Toll-free: 1 800 387 9853 ext. 212 Craig.Doucette@hctf.ca

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

HCTF QUICK FACTS

It is the mission of HCTF to improve the conservation outcomes of B.C.’s fish and wildlife, and the habitats in which they live. We make a difference by funding conservation projects and by educating and engaging the public about B.C.’s natural assets. 2021 marks HCTF’s 40th anniversary of helping conservation groups and individuals secure funding for conservation projects and providing education to the general public about B.C.’s important natural assets. Since 1981, HCTF has provided over $195 million in grants for 3,230 conservation projects across B.C. HCTF began as an initiative by B.C. anglers, hunters, trappers, and guide outfitters.

39 Forestry Projects Protect and Enhance B.C.’s Recreational Values

-Campsites, Hiking Trails, Ski Resorts and Heritage Sites-

British Columbia: in the midst of wildfire season, many British Columbians understandably become focused on fires burning throughout the province and close to their communities, threatening treasured hiking and biking trails, recreational sites, and more.  The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is releasing a 2021 Summer Accomplishments Update featuring 39 forest enhancement projects which are protecting and enhancing important recreational values from campsites and hiking trails to ski resorts and heritage sites.

“Earlier this spring, our team was reviewing the 269 projects FESBC has funded since inception, and we noted a number of the projects throughout the province had a secondary benefit to them – protecting and enhancing recreational values,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, executive director FESBC. “The primary purposes of FESBC projects range from mitigating wildfire risk and enhancing wildlife habitat to improving the recovery of wood fibre and replanting forests. At the same time, FESBC projects often deliver additional co-benefits such as climate change mitigation, job creation, Indigenous peoples’ participation in the forest economy, as well as protecting and enhancing forest recreation.”

Of FESBC’s 269 projects, 39 were identified to protect or enhance one or more recreational values. Project examples include:

Project partners are thankful for the funding and what the forest enhancement work means to their communities.

“When you live in a community where there’s only one road in and out, you can see the devastation a fire can have on a community, it’s nerve racking.”

Michael J. Ballingall, Senior VP, Big White Ski Resort Ltd.

“We are proud of the work that was done, the results, and the safety assurances it brings. This action speaks for itself. We feel protected,” said Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White Ski Resort Ltd.

Echoing Ballingall is Ed Coleman, former CEO of Barkerville Historic Town & Park.

“We look forward to the future as we care for the past. One where the historic town and park are safe from damaging wildfires so we can continue to welcome thousands of tourists each year and provide both employment and enjoyment because of the proactive work we did now.”

Since inception, FESBC has empowered local people who want to do local projects that contribute to the achievement of our climate change goals and enhance B.C.’s forests through wildfire risk mitigation, accelerated ecological recovery after wildfires, wildlife habitat enhancement, and increased utilization of forest fibre.

FESBC Board Chair Jim Snetsinger is proud of the efforts of the FESBC team and the many First Nations, community forest leaders, local governments, and industry partners who carried out this exceptional work.

“With support from the governments of B.C. and Canada, FESBC has enabled others to do this remarkable work to enhance our forests, generating immense social, economic, and environmental benefits,” said Snetsinger. “When British Columbians enhance our forests, we are bequeathing an inheritance to our children and grandchildren: cleaner air, fewer greenhouse gases, better timber supply, higher quality wildlife habitat, safer communities, and protecting important recreational assets we all value and enjoy.”

View the 2021 FESBC Summer Accomplishments Update.

For information or an interview regarding these projects, contact:

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