During the past year, FPInnovations presented commercial thinning workshops in British Columbia—in Prince George, Quesnel, Smithers, and Vernon.
We met with Dave Belyea, FPInnovations’ Industry Advisor for the Northern Interior, to learn more about his experience and understand the challenges faced by the forests in the B.C. Interior.
What are the challenges faced by the forests in the B.C. Interior and how do these workshops help address them?
The wood supply is by far the biggest challenge. The allowable annual cut is expected to decrease by 5 to 10 million cubic metres per year for the next 25 to 30 years. The workshops focused on alternative logging systems such as commercial thinning in second-growth stands and partial cutting in older stands that have operating constraints. These strategies, once fully implemented, will help provide another source of fibre and mitigate the effects of mid-term fibre availability challenges such as shift reductions and mill closures.
Who participated in the workshops and what feedback did you receive?
Attendees included professional foresters from government and industry, logging contractors, and representatives from Aboriginal groups. As a result of the workshops, we have been contacted for help regarding stand selection for treatment, quality control measures, operator training, and prescription and implementation of treatment strategies. Last year, we helped several companies implement treatment strategies in the Interior. This year, we already have several requests for helping implement commercial thinning and partial-cutting strategies.
Has commercial thinning been successfully used in other jurisdictions in Canada?
In eastern Canada, commercial thinning has been used for more than 25 years. In some jurisdictions, the annual volume of fibre from commercial thinning is 20% of the fibre consumed by the industry.
Does FPInnovations plan to deliver more workshops on commercial thinning?
FPInnovations is planning to deliver two or three commercial thinning workshops in the next year. Two of the locations are tentatively scheduled for Burns Lake and Prince George in the spring or fall.