Through CleanBC funding committed in Budget 2022, the Province is providing $19 million over three years to increase the carbon stored in B.C.’s forests and develop innovative, low-carbon forest-based products that support good jobs for people.
“Our forests make B.C. one of the best places to live. They nurture plants and wildlife, store carbon and provide good, family-supporting jobs for communities across our province,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, speaking at the 2022 Convention of the BC Council of Forestry Industries. “Our government is taking action to promote healthy forests as a legacy for our children and grandchildren while building a sustainable, innovative forest economy that’s led by Indigenous Peoples.”
This investment includes more than $15 million to implement enhanced forest management. This will fund the fertilization of 25,000 hectares of forests, which increases the growth rate of trees and promotes the storage of carbon in biomass, dead organic matter, soils and wood products. The investment is expected to generate a net reduction in the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases equivalent to nearly 1.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030.
“Through the CleanBC plan, we’re addressing the challenges of climate change by investing in innovative, science-based approaches that will help our forests remain healthy, resilient and store carbon for the long term,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “This funding will have a direct and positive impact on our forests and on the local and Indigenous communities that depend on them by creating new opportunities in the clean economy.”
Supporting B.C.’s forest bioeconomy is an important part of CleanBC: Roadmap to 2030, B.C.’s plan to expand and accelerate climate action while building new opportunities in the clean economy. Almost $4 million will be invested to expand the existing Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program to include a new accelerator stream, which will help participants commercialize and scale up innovative, low-carbon forest-based products.
Since 2019, the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program has delivered 41 projects with 24 Indigenous communities and organizations throughout the province. Projects include essential oils extracted from conifer needles; engineered wood product made from dead and degraded wood from fires and beetle kill; textiles made from bark; and insulation made from scrap wood fibre. This program supports increased Indigenous participation in the forest sector and the development of an Indigenous-led forest bioeconomy in B.C.
The forest bioeconomy is focused on using materials left over from logging and forestry, such as bark, shrubs, branches and berries, to make everyday products. This helps shift the forest sector to a high-value, waste-free circular economy that reduces the use of petrochemical-based products and helps fight against climate change.
This funding supports additional actions by the Province to fight climate change. B.C. has planted more than one billion trees since 2018, including 301 million in 2021. In 2022, it is expected that approximately 5,000 tree planters will plant nearly 286 million trees in B.C. Forestry licensees are legally required to reforest areas they harvest.
Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries –
“B.C. is a global leader in sustainable forest management, with over 98 % of forests certified to the highest internationally recognized third-party standards. Today’s announcement will further strengthen how we collectively work to take care of B.C.’s forests to support a healthy environment, good jobs for British Columbians and a healthier planet. Growing Indigenous participation in the bioeconomy will also bolster stewardship of B.C.’s forests and contribute to climate solutions while creating new economic opportunities for people and communities.”
Reg Meuller, CEO, Nak’azdli Development Corporation –
“In partnership with Deadwood Innovations, we are making products from dead pine that would usually be considered waste. Support from the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program for this project means a lot for the environment and our vision for the future, and it’s giving much needed employment to our members.”
To learn more about the forest bioeconomy, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/supporting-innovation/bio-economy