Forestry workers, First Nations and mills are getting to work on Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC)-supported projects that reduce wildfire risk, lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide recovered fibre to mills and bioenergy facilities.
“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC supports First Nations, community forests, rural communities and many others who take on projects to help strengthen forest health and ecosystems, while creating good jobs in communities across the province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “Through a $50-million grant this year from the Province, FESBC and their project partners are making significant progress to enhance forest resiliency to wildfire and climate change for the lasting benefit of British Columbians.”
FESBC-supported projects are often aimed at helping communities remove excess fibre from forests for two reasons. It reduces fuel for potential wildfires and helps provide the raw materials needed to make bio-products and bioenergy. Given that most of the recovered fibre would otherwise be burned in slash piles (waste from forestry activity), FESBC projects are also helping B.C. reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Community wildfire protection is a significant mandate of FESBC. Many First Nations and communities are safer and more secure during fire season due to work completed under FESBC leadership.
FESBC is funding 61 projects in 2023, including 19 projects announced on Nov. 30, 2023. The newly announced projects include:
- almost $800,000 to assist in shipping northern fibre to BioNorth Energy facility in Fort St. James;
- $1.25 million to Stuwix Resources joint venture (a partnership of eight First Nations in the southern Interior) to support the delivery of more than 1,500 logging-truck loads of low-value fibre to various facilities, including Nicola Clean Power in Merritt; and supporting a pilot project examining the operational and financial realities of a biohub to collect and process/merchandize low-value fibre in a central area; and
- $1.8 million for a wildfire fuel break to be created by Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation northeast of the Anaham community.
“FESBC is thrilled to assist the Government of British Columbia to support workers and communities,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC. “This funding, in turn, is enabling local people to reflect their local forestry priorities in the projects they propose and often achieve multiple benefits for each project dollar. First Nations and local communities have the knowledge and creativity to leverage forestry projects to also improve wildlife habitat, reduce greenhouse gases, contribute to reconciliation, jobs for workers and much more.”
Founded in 2016, FESBC has been supporting forestry projects at the community level. Fully funded by the Province, B.C. announced $50 million in January 2023 to help FESBC evaluate and fund projects. Of the 61 projects receiving grants from FESBC in 2023, nine are wildfire risk-reduction projects and 52 are fibre-recovery projects. Some serve both needs.
Paul Donald, CEO, Simpcw Resources Group –
“FESBC funding plays a critical role in optimizing resource utilization. It helps us turn low-value fibre into a valuable asset. The resulting economic benefits contribute to the success of the Simpcw Resources Group, River City Fibre and the communities we proudly serve.”
Joe Nemeth, manager, BC Pulp and Paper Coalition –
“The funding from Forest Enhancement Society of BC is making a big and positive difference in our province. Without FESBC’s funding program, I believe we would have seen more pulp-mill downtime and probably one or two mills shut. The funding FESBC provides for projects that enhance the utilization of waste wood is a game changer that is helping to keep mills running and both First Nations and small contractors in business.”
Percy Guichon, executive director, Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. –
“Thanks to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC's unwavering support and funding, we've successfully recovered nearly one million cubic metres of residual fibre in our region over the past four years. This achievement not only represents a remarkable environmental stewardship effort on both FESBC and Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation’s (CCR) part, but also translates into tangible impact on our community's safety. It's a testament to the positive outcomes that collaboration and dedicated funding can achieve for our environment and well-being.”
Gordon Murray, executive director, Wood Pellet Association of Canada –
“Improving utilization of wood fibre is a win for people and our forests. These projects support the conversion of what was once considered waste into wood pellets, creating jobs, heating and powering Canadian homes and businesses, reducing wildfire risk, and contributing to global climate goals by displacing fossil fuels and advancing new technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage.”
Jennifer Gunter, executive director, BC Community Forest Association –
“The BC Community Forest Association and our members would like to express their appreciation to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) and Ministry of Forests for the funding that has been allocated to projects throughout the province to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and to better utilize low-value wood fibre. Community forestry is about local management driven by community values. FESBC puts funding directly into the hands of community forests so they can do the work to enhance their local forests and better protect their communities from wildfire.”
- FESBC was founded in 2016 and has supported 372 projects amounting to $306,247,028 as of Nov. 27, 2023.
- Ninety-seven of these projects were led by First Nations, with an additional 39 having significant First Nations involvement.
- FESBC operates independently but is wholly funded through the Ministry of Forests.
To learn about FESBC, visit: https://www.fesbc.ca/
To apply for FESBC funding, visit: https://www.fesbc.ca/applying-for-funding/
To know about FESBC-funded projects, visit: https://www.fesbc.ca/projects/
A backgrounder follows.