The British Columbia’s government released a report on the 31st of August as to improve the competitiveness of the forest sector as to maintain the investments and provide family-supporting jobs in communities throughout the province.
As reported by Price George, the agenda, called “Strong Past, Bright Future” contains 49 strategic actions to address three key inter-related goals: healthy, resilient forests; diverse, globally competitive industry; and stable communities and First Nations.
It is known that BC produces high-quality wood products from sustainably managed forests, yet the government has to address the challenges that may undermine the industry’s ability to compete, due to the mountain pine beetle which affects the interior of the forests and because of the uncertainty from the market.
Other programs made by the government include the maximization of BC’s forests and the improvement for a competitive position. Programs such as the three-year $75-million Rural Dividend and the $85 million plan for the newly created Forest Enhancement Society of B.C work on tapping the innovation on the forests in BC.
“Government is focused on maintaining the forest sector’s position as a driving force in B.C.’s economy, especially in rural communities. This will sustain jobs, provide a secure future for resource communities, and deliver benefits to all British Columbians,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
According to Prince George, the agenda also includes:
- Enhancing the promotion of B.C. wood products globally, focusing on the province’s strong regulatory environment and the benefits of B.C.’s wood products.
- Through Forestry Innovation Investment, promoting new wood-construction technology to global markets and developing non-traditional uses of wood and wood-pulp fibres.
- Advancing opportunities for forest carbon management and promoting greater use of lower-value wood and wood residue in support of the province’s climate leadership goals.
- Investing in timber supply and restoring forests impacted by the mountain pine beetle and wildfire.
- Strengthening timber-supply data using state-of-the art technology to provide a completely updated forest inventory by 2023.
- Maintaining healthy forest ecosystems that support values such as fish and wildlife ecosystem biodiversity, clean water, recreation, fibre for forest products, and forest carbon storage.
- Continuing to enhance First Nations’ participation in the forest sector, and encouraging business-to-business relationships between First Nations tenure holders and forestry firms.
- Creating more trades and training seats at post-secondary institutions, targeting funding for occupations in demand.
The Value-Added Sector Action Plan, and British Columbia Pulp and Paper Sustainability: Sector Challenges and Future Opportunities are also supporting the plan, which follows the Province’s Forest Fibre Action Plan released in September 2015.