Funding of $10 million from the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia will mean more wood waste will be redirected to mills instead of being burned on the ground, creating more jobs for British Columbians and reducing carbon emissions.
“This is good for local jobs and for the health of the forests, and it is a positive step toward increased safety for forest-dependent communities,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Companies and workers will be able to make better use of residual timber and, in addition to creating employment and reducing waste, this approach will also help to reduce fuel on the landscape to mitigate wildfire risk.”
The individual grants range from $90,500 to $3,430,491 and cover nine projects in B.C.’s Interior (see backgrounder). The successful proposals were selected from among 33 applications that were submitted in response to a call for proposals specific to fibre use, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The recovered wood will be used for a variety of purposes, including chips for pulp, wood pellets, hog fuel for bio-energy and cants (low-grade timber products).
The ministry’s Forest Carbon Initiative, along with partners such as the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, focuses on how to make better use of wood fibre and reduce emissions from the burning of wood waste.
By using 100 cubic metres of lodgepole pine debris for energy or pulp, rather than burning it in a slash pile, about 17 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions can be avoided.
“The Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia’s board of directors is delighted to expedite the approval of these fibre utilization projects so that operations on the ground can begin immediately,” said Wayne Clogg, board chair, Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia. “The society is pleased to assist with these projects, because doing so will avoid carbon emissions, reduce smoke caused by slash burning, support jobs and potentially displace some fossil fuels.”
As a result of the expedited approval process, the successful applicants will be able to start taking the woody debris out of B.C.’s forests this winter. The proposals will see over 1.13 million cubic metres of fibre removed from the landscape.
“The Ulkatcho First Nation, as an owner of West Chilcotin Forest Products, very much appreciates the support of the governments of B.C. and Canada in assisting with the incremental utilization of harvesting waste that would otherwise be burned,” said Stephen James, executive director, West Chilcotin Forest Products. “The West Chilcotin plateau lacks the infrastructure that many other areas of the province take for granted. Given the distance to markets for our forest products, enhanced utilization of our forest fibre has always been a struggle. With this assistance from the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia, we can now start to do our part to fight climate change while, at the same time, providing much-needed employment for our band members.”
- The Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia, a Crown agency, was established in 2016 to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by:
- preventing and mitigating the impact of wildfires;
- improving damaged or low value forests;
- improving habitat for wildlife;
- supporting the use of fibre from damaged and low value forests; and
- treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases.
- As of January 2019, the B.C. government has invested $235 million in the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., with over $173 million allocated to date for wildfire risk reduction, reforestation, forest rehabilitation, wildlife habitat restoration and raising awareness of the FireSmart program.
- The Forest Carbon Initiative is funded in part through the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Fund. This initiative assists with B.C. government priorities, such as:
- revitalizing the forest sector;
- partnering with First Nations;
- supporting the Province’s CleanBC commitment to transition to a low-carbon economy; and
- providing economic benefits for rural communities.
More information about the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. is available online: http://www.fesbc.ca
A backgrounder follows.