Forestry Management
May 16, 2017 – Although our neighbour to the south may not be interested in Canada’s lumber, Habitat for Humanity GTA wants to use Ontario’s for a good cause.

Habitat is working with the Ontario Forest Industries Association and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to build 15 new homes for working, low-income families this month.

"Considering the challenges presented by the Trump administration trade action, Ontario's forestry leaders are glad to be working hand in hand with partners to do what our sector has been doing for generations – provide provincially sourced sustainable wood for the building of homes,” said Jamie Lim, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Forest Industries Association.

"I'm happy to put on my hard hat and get my hammer out to help with this great project for Habitat for Humanity and I'm proud to see representatives from Ontario's forestry sector stepping up and giving back to our communities,” Minister of Natural Resources and Forest Kathryn McGarry said.

With approximately 85 billion trees, Ontario's forests cover two-thirds of the province – a land area equivalent in size to Germany, Italy and the Netherlands combined, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry website.

“We have been learning a great deal about the constant renewal of our forests as a result of sustainable forestry and also about the incredible role Canada's forests play in mitigating climate change,” said Ene Underwood, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity GTA.

Less than 0.5 per cent of Ontario's trees are harvested annually, according to the Ministry website.

“By upholding some of the world's best forest management practices, Ontario's forestry community sustainably harvests our forests to ensure that there are renewable wood products available to build and furnish homes for families today and for generations to come,” the OFIA said in a release.

Other participants of the build will include the OFIA's forestry community, members of provincial government, Indigenous leaders and students.

The initiative is taking place on May 18 and 19 at the Pinery Trail site in Toronto (140 Pinery Trail) in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.
May 9, 2017 - It’s been almost six years since the Island Lake Biomass Harvest Experiment was established in the Martel Forest region near Chapleau, Ont., and though the project is still in its early stages, researchers have begun to share some surprising findings from their ambitious harvesting experiment.

A collaborative project between Tembec Chapleau Operations and a wide array of local, provincial, and federal partners – including the Northeast Superior Forest Community (NSFC), the Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum (NSRCF), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), FPInnovations, Canadian Institute of Forestry – Science-Extension-Education-Knowledge (CIF-SEEK), university researchers, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) and Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service (NRCan-CFS) – the Island Lake site was established in 2011, with ongoing research expected to continue for years to come.

The goal of the project is to determine what effects different levels of biomass harvesting intensity might have on boreal forest biodiversity, soil properties and stand productivity, and to provide a venue where interested stakeholders can learn more about intensive biomass harvesting.

Now, nearly six years on, they have begun to share some of their early findings with the public.

Biodiversity is key
One of the most important considerations going into the Island Lake experiment is what effects more intensive biomass harvesting practices might have on future forest growth and biodiversity, since forest harvesting residues provide valuable nutrients for growing trees, as well as a wide variety of habitats and food sources for organisms that call these forests home.

And while it will be some time before researchers can definitively say what effects more intensive harvesting has on stand growth, they have nonetheless managed to generate some interesting findings on the effects this kind of harvesting has on microbial communities, which are important indicators of the nutrient processing that goes on at the site.

In all, Tembec used four increasing levels of biomass removal when initially conducting a harvest of the site in the winter of 2010-2011:
  1. stem-only jack pine sawlog harvest (leaving the crowns of harvested trees and all non-merchantable stems)
  2. full-tree biomass harvest, removing the entire above-ground portion of all merchantable and non-merchantable tree
  3. full-tree biomass harvest with stump removal
  4. removal of all biomass including stumps, downed woody debris and the forest floor

In addition, researchers have been studying three nearby “natural” forest conditions – a recently burned wildfire site, a mature fire-origin stand, and a 40-year-old second-growth forest – in an effort to compare results to reference conditions.

In terms of the harvested plots, research led by Professor Nathan Basiliko and graduate student Emily Smenderovac of Laurentian University found that, while any level of harvesting created changes in the microbial community, there were no observable differences between different levels of harvesting intensity in the first two years after harvest.

“There wasn’t any difference in terms of the intensity of harvest and its effect on the microbial community,” explains Paul Hazlett, a forest soils scientist with the Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC) (a NRCan-CFS research centre in Sault Ste. Marie, and a co-leader on Lake Island research activities). “So whether we left a lot of the tree material on the site after harvesting – what we call a stem-only harvest – or we conducted a biomass harvest and removed all of the woody material to the roadside, we didn’t see any difference in the microbial community. It didn’t seem to matter how much material we removed.”

In contrast to the relative homogeny of the microbial communities observed in harvested plots, researchers found clear differences between the microbial community composition in harvested plots, the recently burned site and the uncut forest stands, indicating for this specific burned site that in the short-term harvesting has different effects than wildfire.

“The harvested sites were different from the uncut sites, and from the forest fire sites, as well,” notes Hazlett. “It is important for us to understand to what degree our harvesting practices emulate natural disturbances in these forests.”

An experiment led by Lisa Venier, a research scientist at GLFC focusing on the effect of the different harvest intensities on biodiversity in soil invertebrates yielded similar results.

“Another element that we looked at in the biodiversity realm was soil invertebrates, so beetles and spiders and other organisms that live in the forest floor. Similar to the microbial community, we did see some differences between the recently burned site and the harvested and uncut sites,” says Hazlett. “But again, the amount of biomass left on the site didn’t seem to be the important factor in terms of affecting these populations. Instead, it seems to be that the disturbance of the forest floor is important when it comes to the distribution of these organisms.”



The wonders of wood ash
One other area of the Lake Island project that has produced compelling early results is in researchers’ experiments amending soil at the site with wood ash produced from Tembec’s wood-fired thermal electricity generating facility in nearby Chapleau. Though often seen as a waste byproduct in bioenergy production, wood ash is nutrient-rich, and has the potential to enrich soil and replace nutrients removed by biomass harvesting.

“There are several reasons why someone might do this on an operational basis,” explains Hazlett. “It’s not currently being done operationally in Canada, but it is done in Scandinavia. Wood ash is high in some important plant nutrients, which you can apply back on the site to augment what you’ve removed during a biomass harvest. Wood ash also has a high pH, which can help to restore soils that have been acidified due to acid rain.”

Due to its relatively high pH, researchers have been closely monitoring any potential effects that the use of wood ash might have on biodiversity. Professor Zoë Lindo and graduate student Paul George from Western University focused in particular on nematodes, microscopic roundworms that live in the soil and are important to organic matter decomposition.

“One of the potential challenges with wood ash is the question of whether it harms site biodiversity,” says Hazlett. “You’re adding something quite different in terms of its nutrient levels, and it’s a bit caustic, because of its high pH. So far, though, what we’ve found is that there is no impact on the nematode populations.”

In addition to their work monitoring the effect that using wood ash as a soil additive might have on biodiversity, researchers have also been exploring the potential for trace metals contained in the ash to contaminate nearby water sources.

“One other thing we’ve been looking at is whether the trace metals concentrated in the wood ash—things like cadmium and chromium—might leach into the soil, and then into the surrounding groundwater and surface water. The good news at this point is that we’ve yet to see any high levels of trace metals in the soil water.”

With all their testing so far yielding positive results, Hazlett remains hopeful for a future where wood ash may be a matter of added value, rather than added cost.

“The reality is that most of the wood ash that comes from bioenergy boilers is actually landfilled” he says. “It’s an organic material with several different nutrients, and forest industry and bioenergy companies are paying to landfill this material that could actually be used as a forest soil amendment.” Hazlett and colleagues have developed AshNet, a network investigating forest soil applications of wood ash in several different ecosystems across Canada.

Time will tell
While the Island Lake Biomass Harvest Experiment is still in its early stages, there is reason for optimism based on the research team’s preliminary findings. Even as their research to this point would seem to indicate that both intensive harvesting and using wood ash as a soil additive are both potentially valuable and sustainable practices, Hazlett cautions that it will take time, and scientific rigour, before stakeholders can know with certainty whether this is the case.

“One question that we’re asking is, if we test this again in five years, or seven years, will there be differences then that we couldn’t see immediately? Will the early results carry through the stages of development as the stand grows into a mature forest? Those are important questions.”

“The true evidence of a research project like this won’t be known until 20 or 30 years after, only because it takes that long for seedlings to grow into mature trees,” he explains. “That’s when we start to see some really important differences.”

For his part, Hazlett recognizes that, so long as their efforts are generating knowledge that will allow Ontario – and Canada – to assure the future viability and sustainability of its growing renewable energy sector, the results are worth the wait.

“When we started this, part of the idea with this project was to get ahead of the curve,” he says. “Intensive biomass harvesting isn’t something that’s done to a great degree in Canadian forests, but if we continue to move toward renewable forms of energy, then burning forest biomass is a great step in that direction. We wanted to do some of these more intensive removals, and find out what effects those kinds of removal might have on the Canadian forest landscape.”

“That’s been an important goal for us, and I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

For more information on the Island Lake Biomass Harvest Experiment:
http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/pubwarehouse/pdfs/35808.pdf  
http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/pubwarehouse/pdfs/37776.pdf

For more information on AshNet: https://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/projects/140/1 
April 19, 2017 - Canadian National Railway (CN) has announced 32 of its customers for their sustainability practices that are aligned with the objectives of the CN EcoConnexions program.

The annual awards are given to customers who are working to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency across their supply chains through energy efficiency and carbon reduction programs, sustainability policies, public reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and through modal shift to rail.

Customers are invited to partake in the program based on their ability to reduce GHG emissions by converting from truck to rail shipments. Submissions are evaluated based on sustainable policies, energy efficiency, reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project, and modal shift to rail. 

Congratulations to the pulp and paper industry partners under CN’s recognition program: 

• Canfor
• Domtar Corporation
• Kruger Products LP
• Resolute Forest Products
• Tembec
• Verso Corporation
• West Fraser 
• Weyerhaeuser

“CN is proud to partner with these companies and congratulates each of them on their sustainability efforts,” said JJ Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer. He said CN will plant 100,000 trees, in partnership with Tree Canada, in the spring in recognition of its customers’ commitment to sustainable business practices.
April 10, 2017 - Trimble has announced that it has acquired Canadian-based BOS Forestry, a provider of collaboration, harvesting, production and lumber sale solutions for small- and medium-sized forestry companies. The addition of BOS Forestry emphasizes Trimble's focus on technologies that address the complete end-to-end ecosystem for forest management, traceability and timber processing. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BOS Forestry's suite of applications provide simplified processes for scale site, log load, yard inventory, contractor settlement, finished goods sales and distribution. In addition, BOS offers a trade portal that facilitates the collaboration of wood supply stakeholders and brings together an innovative network for buyers and sellers to make more informed decisions and improve fiber productivity by leveraging all aggregated log load data transactions. The integration of BOS Trade into Trimble's Connected Forest portfolio provides a key component to enable transparency and visibility across the fiber business. 

Trimble's Connected Forest solutions manage the full raw materials lifecycle of planning, planting, growing, harvesting, transporting and processing. The solutions improve decision making at every step—from forest to mill and from land acquisition to product delivery­—by combining industry-specialized software and state-of-the-art hardware into solutions for land, forest and fiber management. Trimble offers the most comprehensive supply chain solutions available to the forest industry today.

"Our goal is to continue to expand Trimble's Connected Forest capabilities and we are excited that BOS Forestry will be part of the team," said Ken Moen, general manager of Trimble's Forestry Division. "The forest industry is converging. We are now ideally positioned to enable customers to take advantage of the efficiencies associated with supply chain collaborative planning, information sharing and the integration of sawmill, contractor, log vendor, scale site and transport business data."

"BOS Forestry streamlines wood supply management, settlement and reconciliation processes with powerful analytical tools and collaborative web services," said Grant Sutherland, CEO of BOS Forestry. "The web portal provides a clearinghouse for all wood supply stakeholders and forest industry partners to manage scale tickets, analyze load information and monitor transport. We are delighted to be part of Trimble and look forward to contributing strategically to the Connected Forest and strengthening its forest lifecycle capabilities."
April 6, 2017 - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced 11 community grants Thursday that will advance the quality of life in communities across North America. SFI is bringing together a diverse range of people from 50 organizations to support community engagement projects that put SFI at the intersection of sustainable forestry, responsible procurement and thriving communities. SFI engages local communities through a variety of initiatives including youth outreach, supporting Indigenous values, forest education programs, and green building projects for low-income families.

These grantees include leading community organizations like Scouts Canada, the Black Family Land Trust, South Dakota Project Learning Tree and Montana's Whitefish School District. Partnerships represented by these projects reach even more broadly, including the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, government agencies in South Carolina, British Columbia and Maine, as well as the University of Winnipeg and the University of Wisconsin. SFI Program Participants, SFI Implementation Committees, family forestland owners and brand owners are also making a difference through SFI community grants.  

The grants were awarded through SFI's Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program, which is dedicated to improving conservation of forests and strengthening the communities that depend on them. These projects illustrate best practices and innovative approaches for partnerships focussed on environmental sustainability and the quality of life in local communities. The projects serve to strengthen the link between responsible forest management and youth education, helping underserved communities, and enabling family landowners to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of their land.

"I'm excited to see so many groups coming together to learn about responsible forestry and building connections with local communities," said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. "We are engaging youth, supporting family landowners and bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together to enrich forest‑based communities and improve our shared quality of life because forests affect us all."

A Tree, Is A Tree, Is A Tree 101, led by the Black Family Land Trust, is engaging African Americans in Southside Virginia to turn family forest assets into performing assets for today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, led by Montana's Whitefish School District, will showcase new ways to develop better citizens and leaders through the center's greenhouse, a two-story classroom building, gardens, an orchard, an experimental forest, a native grass meadow, a wet meadow detention pond, and trails.

Marten Monitoring and Youth Knowledge Transfer Program, is an effort led by the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi in Quebec to evaluate the impact of wildlife management guidelines on marten populations and transfer knowledge to Cree youth in the community by combining science and traditional knowledge.

The Forestry Connects Program, led by Forests Ontario, is connecting about 100 high school students and teachers to the boreal forest and giving them real-life experience in responsible forest management.

A Walk in the Forest, led by South Dakota Project Learning Tree, uses volunteers and resource professionals to provide a forest field day for students from grades three to 12 to explore their local forest, get some exercise, and learn about forestry and other natural resource professions.

The Forest-Community Innovation Network, led by the University of Winnipeg, is an active collaborative knowledge forum to support networking and practical research critical to engaging diverse groups, including Indigenous peoples, in fostering innovation.

The Thompson Steelhead Community Collaboration Initiative, led by the Fraser Basin Council, is designed to raise awareness and foster collaboration between Indigenous peoples, the commercial sport fishery and forest managers in the Thompson River watershed of British Columbia.

Trees for Tomorrow School, led by Trees for Tomorrow, is offering a four-day course in the U.S. Great Lakes region to increase teachers' understanding of sustainability and responsible resource management, and how to integrate these concepts into their classroom curriculum.

The EnviroMentality Initiative, from Scouts Canada, is a series of youth-led environmental stewardship projects across Canada focused on helping Scouts learn the skills and knowledge to be sustainability leaders in their communities.  

Wood Magic Forest Fair, a project led by the South Carolina Forestry Foundation, is a series of four-hour programs to engage and educate fifth graders about the many environmental, social, and economic benefits provided by South Carolina's forests.

A Guide to Harvesting Family Woodlands, being developed by the Maine SFI Implementation Committee, will be a key tool to conserve forests, educate forest owners and build partnerships among family woodland owners and forest managers.
April 3, 2017 - Forests Ontario is working with community members and TD across Ontario to celebrate Ontario’s living landmarks – Heritage Trees. An excellent example is how on Saturday, March 25, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, the congregation of St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church in Toronto, Forests Ontario and TD Bank Group representatives gathered to recognize the church’s majestic White Oak as a Heritage Tree. Forests Ontario extends our gratitude to TD for their support of the Heritage Tree Program, the premier for her support and the St. Cuthbert’s congregation for sharing their great white oak with us and the Leaside community. 

The next deadline for the consideration of nominated landmark or heritage trees is May 31, 2017; the second is September 22nd, 2017. The Heritage Tree Program enhances awareness of the cultural, historical, and ecological value of prominent trees across Ontario. A Forests Ontario Heritage Tree nomination documents trees associated with a historic person or event, or perhaps a tree growing on land that is historically significant or serves as a community landmark. 

“As a relatively young country, our oldest trees are biological monuments and witnesses to our nation’s history,” says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “In our parks and backyards and along streets and trails we find trees that have inspired artworks, were planted by historical figures, or stand on the site of an event that shaped our history.”

“TD has long supported initiatives in support of a healthier future for Canadians,” says Carolyn Scotchmer, environment regional manager of TD Bank Group. “The Heritage Tree initiative is a celebration of our past, but also a reminder to all of us of the importance of caring for our trees and forests for future generations. We hope that this initiative will also encourage Ontarians to consider the incredible value of trees, not just environmentally, but in defining the character of our communities.”

A successful nomination will result in a tree specific recognition plaque, and a certificate recognizing that particular Heritage Tree. Each registered Heritage Tree will be located on both the Heritage Tree and Tree Bee websites. When a tree is selected for Heritage Tree status, nominators receive a one-year Forests Ontario membership and knowledge they have contributed to a greater understanding of the history of Ontario. More program details can be found at heritagetree.ca.

You don’t need to be an expert or even own a tree, anyone is able to nominate a tree for the Heritage Tree Program – whether it grows on their own property, public land or a friends or family member’s property. To begin nominating a tree, register as a nominator on the website and begin the online nomination process, but remember the May 31 and Sept. 22nd, 2017 deadlines.

A successful nomination application is expected to contain the following information:

  • Approximate measurements of the tree, the species, and location to provide to our evaluators.
  • Photos will help to tell the story –include a few with your application!
  • Rationale for why this tree, or the land on which it grows, is historic. You can draw evidence from archives, newspapers, and even verbal records to include in the supplementary documentation section.
  • If the tree is located on someone else’s property, a simple note that indicates consent or agreement to have their tree considered for Heritage Tree designation is critical.
What happens after you submit your Forests Ontario Heritage tree nomination before May 31 and Sept. 22? Your application will be quickly reviewed and complete applications will result in a tree evaluator arranging a site inspection. Evaluations are reviewed by Forests Ontario and nominators and landowners are notified of the results.

The Heritage Tree program will contribute to the future health of Ontario trees. Candidate Heritage Trees are assessed for size, form, shape, beauty, age, rarity, and genetic potential, since an important part of the Heritage Tree program is to enable Forests Ontario to locate potential native tree seed sources. Collecting seeds from these important trees will help ensure the successful planting of legacy trees for future generations to enjoy. The Heritage Tree program was developed in partnership with the Ontario Urban Forest Council.
March 31, 2017 - An experienced forest worker was concerned that Tolko had not removed all the trees it felled to trap Douglas-fir bark beetle before the insects emerged and that some of its harvest practices increased the infestation level in ungulate winter range in the Upper Salmon River area.

Douglas-fir bark beetle is normally present at low levels in ecosystems containing mature Douglas-fir but can increase to epidemic levels given the right conditions. Good timber harvest practices can control an epidemic but poor practices can create or intensify an outbreak.

This report examines Tolko’s management of the Douglas-fir bark beetle outbreak, its harvest practices, and if it complied with requirements for ungulate winter range. | Read the full report.
March 30, 2017 - Following through on Premier Christy Clark’s commitment at the TLA’s 74th Annual Convention & Trade Show,  the provincial government announced today that George Abbott, along with his partners at Circle Square Solutions, will be the independent facilitator overseeing the Contractor Sustainability Review.

"We’re pleased to have an independent facilitator with so much experience working with industry and communities,” said David Elstone, TLA Executive Director. “The Contractor Sustainability Review is the most significant piece of work to affect timber harvesting contractors in almost 20 years and George Abbott is the kind of experienced person we need take on this challenge.”

Abbott has had a long and distinguished career in politics and public service, serving in many ministerial positions. During his term in the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, Abbott worked with industry, environmental, and First Nations groups to complete the Great Bear Rainforest agreement.

“George Abbott’s experience working with the forest industry through developing the Great Bear Rainforest agreement means he has the on-the-ground experience needed to facilitate the Contractor Sustainability Review,” said Jacqui Beban, TLA President.

Timber harvesting contractors are the economic backbone of BC’s rural communities. Working to achieve contractor sustainability will allow independent timber harvesting contractors to earn a fair rate of return so they can continue to provide steady, well-paying jobs in BC’s rural communities.
March 30, 2017 - Timber harvesting on steep slopes is not new to British Columbia. About a quarter of the annual allowable cut is on slopes greater than 35 per cent. Coastal loggers have been experts in cable logging for decades. In the Interior, various innovative steep slope systems and techniques were tried such as high-track Cat 527s, Timbco tilting feller bunchers, KMC soft-track skidders and trail building. Expensive steep slope logging nearly disappeared in the Interior when the economy tightened in 2008.
March 30, 2017 - It Takes a Forest to build communities and a healthy economy, It Takes a Forest to combat climate change and It Takes a Forest to keep us healthy, that’s why Forests Ontario initiated the #ItTakesAForest (ITAF) campaign, a proactive approach to sharing the story of Ontario’s forests.
March 14, 2017 - Wood pellet manufacturers in both the U.S. and Canada are increasingly diversifying their feedstock to reduce fibre costs and take advantage of less utilized fibre sources, according to analysis by Wood Resources International.

The key fibre furnish in both countries are sawmill byproducts and forest residues, together accounting for over 80 per cent of the total feedstock in British Columbia and almost 50 per cent in the U.S. South.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a clear shift in fibre-sourcing for pellet manufacturers in the U.S. South from logs to residues. In 2008, when the first large pellet plant was built, practically all fibre consumed by this plant was low-quality small-diameter logs from adjacent forests. This fibre source is a high-cost fibre furnish since it needs to be chipped, hammered and dried before it can be processed to pellets, which adds substantial cost to the manufacturing of pellets.

Increasingly, pellet plants throughout the southern states have turned to sawmill by-products and forest residues that in the past have been left at the harvesting sites. The North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR) has for the past five years tracked the fibre sources for the pellet industry each quarter in the two major producing regions of North America – British Columbia and the U.S. South. There have been two clear trends:

In British Columbia, pellet companies have moved from entirely relying on inexpensive sawdust from the local sawmills for its fibre furnish to increasingly supplementing its dominant fibre source with forest residues in the form of tree tops and branches left after harvest operations.

In the U.S. South, there has been an increase in the usage of residuals at the expense of roundwood.

In the 1Q/17, pellet plants in B.C. consumed just over 82 per cent sawmill residues, while forest residues accounted for about 17 per cent. With the expected reduction in lumber production in the province in the coming years, pellet plants will increasingly have to rely on forest residues and low-cost logs for their furnish since the available supply of sawmill by-products will diminish.

In the US South, the fibre sourcing trend is the opposite of British Columbia with expected increases in the usage of sawmill residues as the lumber production is likely to expand in the future. From the 1Q/13 to the 1Q/17, the usage of industry and forest residues increased from 33 per cent to 47 per cent of the total fibre furnish for the pellet industry, according to the NAWFR. This upward trend is expected to continue, especially in regards to the usage of sawdust and microchips (chips manufactured from tree tops, tree branches and small-diameter trees from forest thinnings). 



The North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR) has tracked wood fiber markets in the US and Canada for over 30 years and it is the only publication that includes prices for sawlogs, pulpwood, wood chips and biomass in North America. The 36-page quarterly report includes wood market updates for 15 regions on the continent in addition to the latest export statistics for sawlogs, lumber, wood pellets and wood chips.  www.woodprices.com


March 14, 2017 – The Government of B.C. is investing $3.6 billion in rural communities in the next year, with some funding also being allocated to forestry. The government says the goal is to strengthen and diversify B.C.’s rural communities with specific attention going into improving local economies, working with youth and partnering with Indigenous communities.

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson made the announcement, saying the initiative reflects the importance the province places on people living and working in rural areas of B.C. “Creating the conditions for rural British Columbia to grow and thrive is a key priority for our government,” Thomson said in a statement.

A $500,000 investment is going into the Regional District of Mount Waddington to create more forestry jobs there. “The creation of this rural economic development blueprint helps guide strategic investments which connect people, improve the health of our communities and environment, and stimulate business activity,” Rural Advisory Council member Jonathan Lok said in a statement. “These are meaningful initiatives that will make a difference for all of us in rural B.C.”

A $150 million investment is being placed in the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia which will be used to save the environment via tree-planting. It will also create more than 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia, according to a government statement.

“B.C.’s rural economies and natural resource industries are at the backbone of our economy, and are shouldering the risk posed by the global downturn in commodity prices,” Premier Christy Clark said. “These challenges require immediate action to support our rural communities and a long-term plan that builds on our rural advantages to create jobs and diversify our economy.”

The province of B.C. provides more than $2.2 billion every year to help rural areas with education and skills training.
March 7, 2017 - Resolute Forest Products is filing a lawsuit against Greenpeace, stating the environment conservation group has been slanderous in its claims against the forestry company.

Since 2012, Greenpeace has stated that Resolute has not carried out environmentally friendly logging practices, thus harming animals and ecosystems, and disregarding Indigenous people and their lands. 

Resolute has denied the claims and is now suing Greenpeace after the latter recently admitted that its claims against Resolute were not fact-based.

Greenpeace is currently trying to toss out the lawsuit without a hearing.

Resolute vice-president Seth Kursman told the Canadian Press, “This is the most significant development in the four-plus years of this saga. Greenpeace has admitted that they were lying about our forestry practices. Their campaign has been peddling falsehoods.”

Read more here.
March 3, 2017 - An audit of Husby Forest Products Ltd.’s activities on Forest Licence A16869, in the Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District, found compliance with almost all of the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, according to a report released Thursday.

“Our auditors found that Husby complied with most requirements of the legislation, but found fire-hazard assessments were not completed on time,” said Tim Ryan, board chair. “However, Husby had abated fire hazards in an effective and timely manner and now has a system in place to conduct hazard assessments in the future.”

“Auditors also noted that Husby located, marked and mapped culturally significant features in its planning, such as yew, crabapple and monumental cedar trees, to protect them. Husby also covers all road approaches to fish stream crossings with gravel and shot rock to prevent sediment from getting into the streams”, said Ryan. “These are good practices in a challenging operating area.”

The audit area is located north of Masset Inlet in the Collison Point and Eden Lake areas. All forestry activities carried out between Aug 1, 2014, and Aug. 23, 2016, were subject to audit, including harvesting, roads, silviculture, wildfire protection and associated planning.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
Feb. 27, 2017 - Resolute Forest Products has signed a five-year commercial agreement with the Red Rock Indian Band, an Ojibwe First Nation in northwestern Ontario. The agreement is a formal commitment between the company and the band to identify and pursue new economic opportunities and commercial investments, as well as to establish a collaborative forest management planning process for the woodlands Resolute manages. Northern Ontario Business reports. | READ MORE.
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