Today, Premier Christy Clark announced $150 million for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to plant tens of millions more trees, which will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia.
“This is an investment in our forests, in B.C.’s rural communities – and the world’s clean air,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This initiative is another example of how we do business in B.C., striking a balance between environmental protection and economic priorities. That’s the approach that has built Canada’s leading economy, and a world-recognized leader on climate action.”
The $150 million will be transferred in the 2016-17 fiscal year as a lump-sum payment to the independent Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to advance environmental stewardship and, in particular, focus on reforestation initiatives throughout the province. This is in addition to the $85 million government allocated in 2015-16 to the society.
“The rehabilitation and reforestation of damaged forest stands will provide significant greenhouse gas benefits and increase the use of low-quality fibre,” said Jim Snetsinger, vice-chair, Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia. “The society is pleased to receive this funding and we will work with government agencies, First Nations, forest licensees and stakeholders to achieve these important objectives.”
This one-time investment builds on existing programs within the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to support the implementation of the Forest Carbon Initiative. This initiative includes a suite of activities under B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan, which target the reduction of carbon emissions in the forest sector and the capture of carbon through the restoration of forests damaged by disease and wildfire.
“Since 2005, we’ve invested over $445 million in reforestation through Forests for Tomorrow,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson. “Today’s funding will build on those efforts and ensure our children can enjoy the environmental and economic benefits we enjoy from our forests.”
As mentioned in the Climate Leadership Plan, a dedicated forest rehabilitation program can help support over 3,000 jobs over the next five years. A 10-year program can support over 20,000 jobs and lead to annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of up to 11.7 million tonnes by 2050 meeting both provincial and federal targets.
B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan: https://climate.gov.bc.ca/
Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.: http://www.fesbc.ca/
A backgrounder follows
Stephen SmartPress Secretary
Office of the Premier
Vivian ThomasCommunications Director
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
John Betts, executive director, Western Forestry Contractors Association –
“This firm funding is good news for the forestry contracting sector, in that it will create meaningful and ongoing employment for our members. This investment creates certainty for the small business owners that comprise our sector and, of course, this investment is also good news for our forests – especially those in the Interior that have been damaged by the mountain pine beetle.”
Christine Gelowitz, CEO, Association of B.C. Forest Professionals –
“On behalf of the Province’s 5,300 forest professionals, I applaud the government’s additional investment in the stewardship of our forests. We have an excellent forest management track record in B.C. and additional investments like this will build stronger forests that will withstand the effects of climate change and benefit future generations. Healthy, growing forests sustainably managed by B.C.’s forest professionals are a win for both our environment and our economy.”
Rick Jeffery, president and CEO, Coast Forest Products Association –
“Today’s funding commitment recognizes the important role that reforestation plays in advancing climate change goals, and acts directly on recommended actions in Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for British Columbia’s Forest Sector. We know that healthy, resilient forests are foundational to the forest sector.”
Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries –
“This investment will rehabilitate and replant hundreds and thousands of hectares of public lands impacted by the mountain pine beetle and wildfire. This funding will augment the work that industry undertakes to reforest every hectare of land that is harvested.”
Ross Peck, chair, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation –
“The Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. is partnering with the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to fund conservation projects and restore habitat in forested areas. The foundation would welcome the opportunity to help invest additional funds in projects that will have lasting benefits for British Columbia’s wildlife.”
David Elstone, executive director, Truck Loggers Association –
“Investing in a healthy forest for tomorrow also ensures jobs in B.C.’s rural communities. TLA members live and work in these communities and they appreciate the government making this investment in our renewable resource to ensure we can all share in the prosperity of B.C.’s working forest.”