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Capturing Carbon documentary spotlights forestry’s climate change role

Documentary breaks down facts and myths around sustainable forest management in Canada and the potential of wood products to help mitigate climate change.


February 7, 2022
By Maria Church
Screenshot from Capturing Carbon. www.forestryforthefuture.ca/doc

A new documentary on forestry’s role in the climate crisis provides dramatic insight into Canada’s rapidly changing forest landscape and how sustainable forestry practices can help capture and store carbon as wood products.

The documentary Capturing Carbon – a project from the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) with support from Natural Resources Canada – held a virtual premier on Friday.

FPAC CEO Derek Nighbor hosted the premier, calling the documentary a labour of love for the organization to share on-the-ground solutions to climate change mitigation. He thanked Williams Lake First Nation in the B.C. Interior for hosting the documentary team.

Nighbor next introduced Monique Frison, director general with Natural Resources Canada, who shared her thoughts on the documentary and forestry in Canada. “We are the stewards of nine per cent of the world’s forest area,” she said. “Forests can provide solutions to many of the challenges posed by climate change.”

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Frison said the government is committed to supporting fire management and pest strategies to protect forests. Investing in wood construction and supporting innovative wood products such as mass timber will help us meet our climate targets, she said.

The documentary’s director and cinematographer, Tate Young, shared his own personal history with forestry. Young said he worked in a sawmill to put himself through school, and later worked in the bush for a forest company. “I really thought I knew something about it,” he said, but spending time on the ground with foresters and Indigenous stewards surprised him.

“[We’re showing] the impact of climate change on the ground level,” Young said. “Entirely new fields of industry are trying to leverage this amazing resource to sequester carbon.”

Young said he hopes the documentary inspires Canadians but is also used as an educational tool.

Capturing Carbon follows Tolko Industries foresters Jack Darney and Jenna Swanson, Paul Robitaille, senior director of Indigenous and youth relations with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars and stewardship forester John Walker, Carol Phillips, a partner with Moriyama & Teshima Architects, Patrick Chouinard, founder of mass timber producer Element5 as well as Element5 wood finisher Nicole Dasilva Rodrigues, and Gervan Fearon, president of George Brown College.

“At its heart, sustainable forest management is about relationships,” Robitaille says in the documentary. “It’s about collaboration where diverse individuals can come together who all love the forest and are passionate about the forest, and have the opportunity to contribute that passion to create a plan that will work with nature … and do it in a way where future generations can also have that same opportunity to be part of that.”

Watch the documentary here.