Can Walbran's breakthrough green forest pact stand the test of time? The forest industry upheld its end of the bargain in Vancouver Island's Walbran forest...Stewart
It's so exciting to be part of the evolving forest economy on the coast. The landscape has changed so much from my early years in the industry...Tony
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British Columbia’s coastal forests are a natural treasure managed for cultural, social, economic and environmental values. We work hard to maintain our position as a world leader in forest stewardship to produce some of the most sustainable building materials available. Managing a forest is a long-term process. It takes extensive planning before we harvest – and our stewardship continues until there is a new healthy, growing forest. We consult with coastal residents and First Nations during our planning, and most of our forest operations are certified to internationally recognized standards. Under BC’s strict forest management legislation, we must protect unique natural habitats, conserve water and soils, and much more. Each year, less than 1% of BC’s forests are harvested, and in the coastal region alone, more than 17 million seedlings are planted annually.
Forestry is an integral part of the economic fabric of coastal communities – we make a big difference from the Lower Mainland to Haida Gwaii, and we are proud of what we do. More than 38,000 jobs depend on us – directly or indirectly. That’s one in every 10 jobs on the coast. These workers live in coastal communities; they support local businesses. And the value goes beyond our own region. Through provincial taxes and stumpage, we support public services across the province such as health care, education and transportation infrastructure.
Forestry is at the root of who we are. Long before European settlement, First Nations depended on forests for their way of life. For more than a century, the forest sector has fueled our coastal economy and shaped our communities. Today, people and businesses across BC’s coastal region depend on transportation networks and other services developed for our forest industry. Families are able to earn a living while enjoying a unique West Coast lifestyle. BC’s healthy productive forests have long supported a strong culture of wood in our province. We have engineered safe, sustainable – and beautiful – wood construction for structures of all sizes. This expertise is just one of the reasons people around the world choose our high-quality, durable wood and paper products.
In British Columbia’s coastal region, we can all be proud of our achievements in sustainable forest management. Thanks to community-based land use planning, residents of BC have determined how our public lands will be used now and in the future. One of the most impressive examples is right here on the coast – the Great Bear Rainforest. Since 2000, forest companies and environmental organizations have worked collaboratively to preserve this temperate rainforest. The result was a landmark that earned international recognition, including a World Wildlife Fund Gift to the Earth Award in 2007. The agreement reflects what we believe to be our global responsibility to forest conservation. It has limited forestry activities to 15% of the land base in perpetuity; maintaining the wildness that makes the Great Bear Rainforest globally unique. While we are proud of the agreement, it has reduced the fibre available to support local economies and global markets. That’s why all participants have a responsibility to meet the socioeconomic and ecological goals for the region.
BC’s coastal forest sector is a globally competitive forest industry. And we are growing. We are hiring skilled people, and we provide ongoing training in safety and technology. We are investing in the latest technology and infrastructure. We are continually applying new scientific knowledge about the forest ecosystem. We are working with researchers to advance opportunities for non-traditional wood products that can increase the value of our forest resources. We are capturing the world’s growing demand and appreciation for forest products, and reaching out to high-potential markets, such as China and now India.