Forestry Management
June 27, 2018 - Kevin Kriese has been appointed chair of the Forest Practices Board.
June 5, 2018 - The SM2 Initiative by FPInnovations is up and running. After several months of design and planning, and an enormous amount of work by the management team and scientific and technical personnel supported by specialists from the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, the first projects approved in the fall of 2017 are underway. Project teams will now help revolutionize the Canadian sawmill industry.

The SM2 Initiative aims to tackle competitiveness issues faced by sawmills in Eastern Canada. The five-year initiative, launched in 2017, is a collaborative effort that includes the governments of Quebec, Ontario and Canada. Its fast-tack approach is designed to deliver solutions to complex problems.

Through SM2 FPInnovations will bring together internal specialists and pair them with leading university, research centre, industry, and equipment manufacturer experts. SM2’s targets are bold:

  • Increase timber salvage (nominal board feet) by 30 per cent;
  • Reduce by-product production volume (odmt) by 20 per cent;
  • Reduce unit conversion costs ($/mfbm) by 10 per cent; and
  • Increase revenue from non-traditional markets (solid wood products and co-products).
By its conclusion in 2022, SM2 Initiative’s economic impact on the entire Quebec and Canadian industry could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

In December 2017, SM2 included eight major projects and two exploratory projects. Almost $9 million out of a total budget of $42 million has already been mobilized. Six other major projects are in the pipeline. More than 20 specialized employees at FPInnovations’ Quebec office are directly involved in the projects, with the support of other specialists at the Montreal and Vancouver offices. Until now, this team has been working closely with eight research partners, including the University of Montréal’s Centre de recherches mathématiques and various teams at Laval University, 11 industrial partners and 12 manufacturers. This multi-partner collaboration will become even more diversified as future projects are launched. The FPInnovations team recently brought on board experienced and skilled individuals in order to ensure the most effective collaboration possible with all stakeholders and to enable knowledge transfer to the next generation of researchers.

Work teams are undertaking projects that will, among other things, improve operational control, particularly in terms of the debarkability of logs, smart machining centres, wood impregnability, the manufacture of new types of co-products for the panel industry, and high-frequency precision drying. The list will soon include other projects: saw filing room automation, ultra-fast drying, the development of new materials and coatings for circular saws, and designing a low-cost CT scanner to detect internal log defects. While current projects are already promising, some new projects have the potential to revolutionize the industry.

Projects stemming from the SM2 Initiative are very diversified and involve several wood processing value chain components, including the following.

Tree species identification
There are two separate tree species identification projects: the first utilizes sawn wood, while the second examines non-debarked logs to identify the tree species using bark images.

The sawn wood project seeks to provide an approach for automated species separation using near infrared technology (NIR). The technology, developed by FPInnovations, will be adapted to the specific context in Eastern Canada (spruce, fir and jack pine); there are plans to conduct a prototype trial at a planing mill in the spring of 2018 and to adapt it for sawing. The manufacturer Autolog is actively involved in the system’s design, making this project a stellar example of the type of collaboration sought by FPInnovations. This project has the potential to help mills create more value by improving drying and planing mill performance and providing greater opportunities to create value-added products.

The species identification concept for non-debarked logs falls under the overall debarkability improvement project. As part of this project, a work team, in collaboration with professor Roger Hernandez’s team at Laval University, will focus on assessing the incidence of temperature, moisture content and type of tree species on debarkability. In this project, too, collaboration with a Laval University team associated with the FORAC Research Consortium will lead to the contemplated solution for tree species identification. Using recent advances in convolutional neural networks, the team is successfully training a system to recognize a tree species from images of its bark. If results with standing trees reach an impressive level of precision, the next steps will be to train and test the technology in an uncontrolled environment.

Wood impregnability
This project, which is currently at the exploratory stage, will enable the work team to identify potential solutions to significantly improve wood impregnability, an issue that greatly reduces the in-service performance of treated products, limits the wood species used and hampers the marketing of wood-based products at the expense of composite products. By addressing this issue, which has a greater impact on heartwood, the team at FPInnovations is seeking to provide long-term protection, primarily for SPF (spruce-pine-fir) species. Enhanced impregnability of SPF species to facilitate treatment in order to improve dimensional stability and densification is a major issue for the industry. Reaching this goal would also pave the way for the development of various engineered wood products.

Why jump on the bandwagon? How does this initiative differ from FPInnovations’ usual program? Given the current industry context, major changes must be made quickly; consequently, additional financing and a medium- and long-term vision will greatly facilitate competitiveness. The team’s structure has been reviewed and project management resources have been added to provide researchers with 360 degrees of support so that they can focus on what they do best — conduct research.

The stage has now been set to win the trust of partners and the industry and to ensure the program’s success. The initiative has several projects already underway, with numerous other projects that will be added quickly and form the core of the SM2 Initiative over the coming years. The initiative aims high with its focus on “innovation” and “collaboration” and will propose significant solutions for the future of Canada’s sawmill industry with the support of FPInnovations’ partners.

Vincent Monbourquette is an innovation support specialist with FPInnovations’ SM2 Initiative.
June 1, 2018 - EACOM Timber Corporation is proud to announce that its Quebec operations have been certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s (SFI) for both the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard and the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard. EACOM actively engages with forest users, First Nations, contractors, environmental groups and government representatives to constructively work toward upholding the best forest management practices.

This new certification applies specifically to the 8351, 8663, and 8664 management units where EACOM’s Val-d'Or and Matagami sawmills source their fiber. Those same territories have had Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in place since 2008.

SFI is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable management of North American forests and responsible global procurement practices based on 13 principles including maintaining forest productivity and health, protecting water quality, biological diversity and special sites as well as training and education, supporting research and broadening the practice of sustainable forestry.

“At EACOM, we believe that third-party certifications of all our activities are the most effective means to provide both our communities and our customers with objective assurance that our forests and operations are managed in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said Kevin Edgson, EACOM president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to have our practices recognized and certified by an independent, international organization like SFI.”

In Ontario, EACOM’s directly managed forests — the Spanish and the Pineland, are certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard. EACOM’s Ontario sawmills are also certified to SFI’s Fibre Sourcing and Chain of Custody Standards.

More information about SFI standards are available on their website
May 31, 2018 - Canada has 397 million hectares (ha) of forested land. Approximately 190 million (48 per cent) is considered to be suitable for long-term sustainable management for the production of timber, while 165 million ha (87 per cent) of that forest is publicly owned and managed under the authority of the provincial governments. Another 20 million ha (10 per cent) are private woodlots owned by some 450,000 rural families across Canada, with the average size 40 ha.
May 30, 2018 - Today, TimberWest released its 2017 Sustainability Progress Report setting out results for the past year, together with commitments and areas of focus for 2018. 

The report focuses on progress in key areas of sustainability including safety, environment, First Nations, and local communities.

“We are on a journey to constantly improve what we do, and how we do it," said Jeff Zweig, president and chief executive officer of TimberWest. "We set key improvement targets every year, and measure our progress against these goals.” 

“TimberWest has been part of the fabric of Vancouver Island for over 100 years," Zweig continued. "We strive to be highly responsible stewards of the land and do the right thing by First Nations, the communities, and the thousands of people who work for TimberWest directly and indirectly.”

Among TimberWest’s accomplishments in 2017, the company stated it is particularly proud of the following:

  • 39% decrease in medical incident rate year-over-year
  • Achieving certification under Progressive Aboriginal Relations (the first Forest company in BC)
  •  Planting 6.2 million seedlings across the land base
  • Donating of $1.4 million to environmental initiatives and local communities across Vancouver Island
  • Committing up to $10 million over 5 years for forestry-related Research & Development through Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster
2018“Our areas of focus for 2018 include working towards zero injuries by targeting a further significant reduction in injury frequency — we will only truly be successful when everyone goes home safely, every single day,” Zweig said. “For our environmental milestones this year, we are pleased to announce our carbon strategy with a 2018 targeted reduction of burning on-site residuals by 20 per cent, and a company-wide goal of working towards carbon neutrality.”

To learn more about TimberWest’s achievements and future initiatives visit the infographic 2017 Sustainability Progress Report here.
May 28, 2018 - Days before Ontarians head to the polls, representatives from Aboriginal business, mining, prospectors, forestry, local government, and the broader business community are calling for the creation of a provincial natural resource strategy with specific actions, following a roundtable discussion held today in Timmins.

“A strong natural resources sector in Ontario provides skilled jobs for northern communities, including Aboriginal communities, and helps to ensure a prosperous economy,” said Rocco Rossi, Ontario Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer. “At a time when Ontario is facing a skills mismatch, our next government must take bold action, working with the natural resource and northern communities, to address current challenges and provide a pathway forward for industry leadership in the global marketplace.”

The need to develop this strategy was the primary recommendation that emerged from today’s landmark meeting, which was convened at the Timmins Chamber of Commerce to stimulate thinking on priorities and opportunities for growth in Ontario’s resource sector. It included the following participants:

  •  Mayor Steve Black, Timmins
  •  Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
  •  Paul-Emile McNab, Director, Business Development & Strategy Initiative, Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business
  •  Chris Hodgson, President & CEO, Ontario Mining Association
  •  Bill MacRae, Vice-President Operations, Ontario Prospectors Association
  •  Tom Laughren, Director Corporate Responsibility, Tahoe Resources Canada 
  •  Derek Nighbor, President & CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada
  •  Kevin Edgson, President & CEO, EACOM Timber Corporation
  •  Nick Stewart, Manager of Policy, Research & Communications, Timmins Chamber of Commerce
These cross-sector roundtable participants concur that Ontario businesses face many challenges that need to be addressed to support economic growth and stability for the province.

 “These partners coming together demonstrates a willingness across sectors to collaborate with the government on a growth strategy,” said Kevin Edgson, president and chief executive officer of EACOM Timber Corporation. “We have made long-term investments in Northern Ontario and are keen to grow the business. Working forests are part of Ontario’s future.” 

 Resource industries are the backbone of Ontario’s economy, representing an important source of greater living standards and well-being for all; however, the cumulative regulatory and financial burden associated with this sector is threatening its competitiveness.

“Today, 52 per cent of all Canada’s exports come from our natural resources sector — energy, mining, forestry, and agriculture,” said Derek Nighbor, president and chief executive officer of the Forest Products Association of Canada. “All our industries are transforming in their own ways to keep pace in this rapidly changing global economy.”

With the resources sector keen to engage with government on solutions to address some of the unique challenges facing northern Ontario, the scope and breadth of the issues will require collaboration from several provincial ministries.

 By developing a natural resource strategy, government would ensure coordination of efforts across ministries, stakeholders and communities. 

To that end, the group is recommending that the incoming government consider the following as part of a broader natural resource strategy:

  •  Reduce energy costs
  •  Address regulatory and administrative burden
  •  Improve skills training and talent availability
  •  Build capacity in Aboriginal communities
  •  Support northern Ontario infrastructure
“A strong resource sector can help Ontario deliver on key priorities, including securing and diversifying procurement opportunities, enhancing investments in innovation and strengthening relations with the province’s Indigenous Peoples,” said JP Gladu, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business.

Resource companies are well-positioned to work with the government to build the capacity that will support Aboriginal entrepreneurship and community participation in the resource economy.

“The resource sector is important to Timmins and the rest of the province,” said Timmins Mayor Steve Black. “These industries provide good family-supporting jobs in our communities and can bring prosperity to the North. Municipalities and Indigenous communities want to participate and benefit from a strong resource sector. We will look to the incoming government to work with us on a strategy that unlocks barriers and supports growth in the industries.”

A government ready for bold action can strengthen Ontario’s position in the global economy. Today’s participants encourage all parties to consider the role a strong resources sector can play in a prosperous Ontario and will work with the next provincial government to develop a resource strategy for the benefit of all Ontarians.
May 25, 2018 - The government of British Columbia is making changes to give rural communities additional economic and land management opportunities, by allowing them to increase the size of their community forest.

Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, made the announcement today at the BC Community Forest Association AGM in Burns Lake.

“We want to make sure we’re providing a strong economic base for rural communities,” said Donaldson. “This change will help to give community forest operators more options to create local employment opportunities, and also benefit First Nations.”

A community forest is a long-term agreement to manage Crown land that may be held by a local government, community group, First Nation or community-held corporation. Rural communities and First Nations see community forests as a tool to manage the local Crown land base, to provide benefits to the residents and help support their local economies and provide long-term employment opportunities. There are 57 community forests in the province.

“We have been actively working with the provincial government to strengthen the role of people and communities in decisions around the resources they depend on for jobs and community well-being,” said Erik Leslie, president of the BC Community Forest Association. “These are welcome amendments, and are being implemented after full consultation with those affected.”

The change is as a result of amendments to the Forest Act and Community Tenures Regulation. With the change, the expansion of a community forest will be allowed, provided there is available area. Expansions of less than 100 hectares will follow a simplified process, whereas expansions of greater than 100 hectares will require a thorough process, including a management plan and community engagement.
May 24, 2018 - For the 22nd consecutive year, IKEA Canada co-workers will join Tree Canada to plant over 2,000 trees and shrubs in 17 communities across Canada as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability and support for local communities.
May 24, 2018 - The government of British Columbia is starting a discussion on improving wildlife management and habitat conservation, Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, has announced.

“The diversity of wildlife in British Columbia is one of our province’s greatest treasures,” said Donaldson. “Working with Indigenous peoples, wildlife stakeholders and the public, we want to build a strategy that more effectively manages our wildlife for future generations. We’ve dedicated $14 million over three years to do so.”

The province's unique landscapes and climate is home to one of the richest wildlife resources in North America. Three-quarters of Canada's mammal species are found in B.C., with 24 of those species exclusive to B.C. In recent decades, alteration of habitat due to expanded human populations, expanded natural resource development and impacts from climate change have placed increasing pressure on certain wildlife populations, some of which are now in decline.

As part of the government’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, collaboration with Indigenous peoples is an integral part of developing a new provincial wildlife strategy.

The discussion paper, Improving Wildlife Management and Habitat Conservation in British Columbia, poses eight questions for discussion. Engagement is the first step in a four-step process to develop the strategy:

  1. Hold online engagement and face-to-face sessions with Indigenous communities and key stakeholders.
  2. Develop policy options to address priority concerns emerging from the engagement.
  3. Release a policy intentions paper for public engagement.
  4. Implement a new wildlife management and conservation strategy in 2020.
The comment period will end on July 31, 2018. The public is invited to provide input by visiting:
May 18, 2018 - Alberta is protecting more than 6.7 million hectares of boreal forest in the northern part of the province.
May 10, 2018 - Manitoba's Pineland Forest Nursery is no longer viable as a provincially operated entity and will shut down operations on Dec. 31.
May 8, 2018 - Bruce Larson, Tara Marsden and Rick Monchak have been appointed to the Forest Practices Board for two-year terms, Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, has announced.

Larson, who will also serve as vice-chair, has been a professor at the University of British Columbia’s faculty of forestry since 2002. He has a PhD in forestry from the University of Washington and a masters degree in forestry from Yale University. Larson is a member of the Canadian Institute of Forestry and an honorary member of the Association of BC Forest Professionals. He was awarded the Canadian Institute of Foresters, Forestry Achievement Award in 2015.

Marsden has a master of arts degree in political science from the University of Northern British Columbia, and has worked with First Nations governments across northern B.C. on land and resource governance and management issues. Marsden is the sustainability director with the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office in Gitanyow. She also served as the BC Leadership Chair for Aboriginal Environmental Health at the University of Northern British Columbia and has been an instructor at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. Marsden is a member of the Gitanyow First Nation.

Monchak is a professional forester with a long history of working on the B.C. coast. Monchak, who retired from TimberWest in 2017, holds degrees in biology and forestry from the University of British Columbia. A member of the Coast Region Implementation Team and Silviculture Sub-Committee, Monchak has experience in every aspect of forestry operations and administration. He was awarded the Association of BC Forest Professionals Distinguished Forest Professional in 2013, and was the Coastal Silviculture Committee Silviculturalist of the Year in 2016.

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 and appropriateness of government enforcement on public lands, investigates public complaints and current forestry issues, participates in administrative appeals, and makes recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

More information on the Forest Practices Board is available online:
April 5, 2018 - The CEO of the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), Rob Moonen, and the president and CEO of FPInnovations, Stéphane Renou, are pleased to announce that the two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work collaboratively on enhancing safety performance in the forest industry by sharing leading, innovative scientific and technical applications.

Under the MOU, individual projects and financial support agreements for specific activities will be identified through consultation between the two parties, with FPInnovations providing research expertise and non-proprietary technical resources or materials to assist the BCFSC in improving or expanding the support it provides to the forest industry to reduce serious injuries and fatalities.

“This MOU supports some of our key strategic objectives, namely to link safety and business success in a meaningful way and to improve the distribution and awareness of industry current best practices, guidelines and standards, while improving collaboration with government agencies and other stakeholders," said Rob Moonen, BC Forest Safety Council CEO. "Promoting innovation, science and technical solutions in support of improving safety in the forestry industry is key to long-term success.” 

Examples that are currently underway include a steep slope harvesting calculator, feller buncher rollover analysis, fatigue and distraction technologies, a winch-assist harvester best practice manual and body cams for fallers.

“This MOU reflects the importance for the forest sector of increasing safety as a key metric of industrial performance and demonstrates the industry’s commitment to seek innovative solutions to managing risks. FPInnovations values this partnership as an opportunity to drive its research and expertise to field practitioners and achieve safer operations for forest workers,” said Stéphane Renou, president and CEO, FPInnovations.
April 3, 2018 - Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada) will be placing 1,600 youth in green jobs through partnerships with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Canadian Parks Council (CPC).

PLT Canada has received approximately $11 million in funding from the Canadian federal government to provide the youth with jobs in the summers of 2018 and 2019.

“We’re just trying to give youth some professional experience so that they might consider a green job in the future, and hopefully this is just one step in the right direction to be a sustainable leader in the future,” Jessica Kaknevicius, PLT Canada’s project lead on the Green Jobs Initiative tells CFI.

Kaknevicius, who also got introduced to forestry through tree-planting in her youth says the passion of the people who work in the sector is what drew her in, combined with being given the chance to explore.

“I wasn’t really an outdoors person growing up; I wasn’t really exposed to a lot of nature, but it was because of being given opportunities in green jobs that I ended up pursuing a career in it,” she says. “I think everyone’s dedicated and committed and really loves their job, and that’s something that’s contagious and something that has inspired me to continue in this field.”

Kaknevicius encourages interested youth to spend time interacting with those who are working in the field to find out about opportunities that are available. At the end of April, PLT Canada will have a website available with job postings for positions in the program that haven’t been filled yet.

Kaknevicius says the goal is to grow forest and conservation leaders by providing students with opportunities and careers in conservation and forest management across the country, as well as provide wage-matching to employers to provide more opportunities for youth to enter into green jobs.

Eligible organizations can access the federal funding for a 50 per cent wage-match. Working periods run from May through August and must be for a minimum of eight weeks to a maximum of 16 weeks. Canadian youth aged 15–30 are eligible and must be registered students returning to school, either secondary or post-secondary, according to PLT Canada.

The forest sector is being encouraged to participate by applying for green jobs that are applicable in different organizations.

“We’ve had lots of organizations across Canada already apply for funding to support positions like silvicultural technicians, forest technicians, wildlife researchers, so there are lots of opportunities for the forest sector that can be supported by this wage-matching program,” Kaknevicius says. “That’s the benefit of working with Project Learning Tree Canada and through SFI is that we’re really reaching out to our network members to provide this opportunity.”

Employers can find out if they’re eligible on PLT Canada’s website at
March 29, 2018 - On August 24, 1943, the Globe and Mail announced, “the formation of the Ontario Forest Industries Association by a widely representative group of lumber, pulp and paper and associated industries, with the objective of securing better utilization of the great forest resources of Ontario.”

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