By STEVE THOMSON
As B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, I’m pleased to celebrate National Forest Week from Sept. 22-28, 2013.
This year’s theme, The Greenest Workforce, provides an opportunity to highlight B.C.’s forest industry’s contributions and commitment to sustainable resource management and a healthy environment.
Our forest sector accounts for more than 56,000 direct jobs in communities across B.C. Biologists, forest health technicians, habitat specialists, tree planters, lab technicians, research scientists and lands officers are just a few of the careers that play an essential role in today’s forest industry.
From sustainable forest management and water stewardship to wildlife protection and habitat conservation, forestry offers a range of opportunities for individuals wanting to contribute to a healthy environment and “green” future.
B.C. is a world leader when it comes to managing its forests and rangelands. With more than 52 million hectares independently certified as sustainably managed, B.C.’s cutting edge forest management practices set us apart from other jurisdictions. As an example, within the Coast Mountains Resource District an average of 450,000 seedlings are planted each year. As well, BC Timber Sales’ Skeena Business Area has received certification under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standard for its sustainable forest management. BC Timber Sales is also developing a local climate change adaptation strategy.
Forest operations and activities are important parts of maintaining a green workforce.
Companies province wide are upgrading their operations to ensure they remain at the forefront of the industry. More and more are embracing new and innovative technology to increase efficiency, increase use of material previously considered waste and remain competitive in the global market. These investments are signs of industry’s commitment to maintaining a successful, sustainable forest industry here in B.C.
This year’s National Forest Week theme, The Greenest Workforce, is truly fitting to British Columbia’s forest sector.
I’m confident that we will continue to lead the way in successful, sustainable forest management long into the future.
Steve Thomson is also the MLA for the Kelowna – Mission riding in the heart of the Okanagan.