Innovation and Collaboration: FESBC Funds Boost Sustainable Forestry in Northwest B.C.

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The Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia (FESBC) is playing a key role in advancing sustainable forestry practices in Northwest B.C.

Through funding initiatives, FESBC has recently supported three projects undertaken by NorthPac Forestry Group Ltd. (NorthPac) that have significantly improved forest operations while contributing to the province's carbon reduction goals.

One of the funded projects involves recovering small-diameter tops and limbs that were traditionally left behind. With FESBC funding, NorthPac and Coast Tsimshian Resources LP (CTR) have been able to introduce a chipper in Terrace to process this wood waste, leading to more efficient forest management.

FESBC Minister Bruce Ralston highlighted the project's environmental and economic benefits. By utilizing more wood fibre, the initiative reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates valuable products. Cathy Craig, CEO of NorthPac, emphasized FESBC's crucial role in making this possible, as some previously uneconomical fibre can now be utilized.

Northwest B.C.'s diverse forests and limited industry presence create challenges for timber utilization. Local mills cannot process all the wood, necessitating innovative solutions like fibre distribution to various destinations. Since partnering with FESBC, NorthPac has transported over 150,000 cubic metres of previously unused wood fibre, significantly reducing potential emissions.

The projects are significant for Indigenous communities in the region. Kelly Sampson of Coast Tsimshian Resources LP (owned by the Lax Kw'alaams Band) stressed the importance of Indigenous involvement in ensuring sustainable development and economic empowerment. Collaboration with NorthPac and FESBC strengthens stewardship of the land while creating opportunities for Indigenous communities.

The FESBC funding has positive ripple effects throughout the region. The Terrace Community Forest (TCF) has benefited by utilizing smaller diameter logs for chipping, reducing their waste piles and carbon emissions by half. This has also created employment opportunities for the TCF crew.

Chris McGourlick of FESBC acknowledged NorthPac's leadership and collaboration with First Nations partners. Andrew Burke, NorthPac's Director of Business Development, highlighted the need to address misconceptions, particularly among recreational users, regarding forestry practices. He emphasized that extensive planning and protections are in place before any harvesting occurs.

NorthPac, committed to sustainable forest management, continues its work with FESBC funding. This collaboration allows them to maximize fibre utilization despite the challenges of Northwest B.C. forestry. The projects demonstrate how sustainable forestry practices can be beneficial for the environment, the economy, and Indigenous communities.

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