Katrine Conroy, Special to The Terrace Standard
It’s National Forest Week from Sept. 18 to Sept. 24 and Katrine Conroy, the provincial minster of forests, is urging people to reflect on the role the forest plays in everyday lives.
As B.C.’s minister of forests, it is my pleasure to invite all people in British Columbia to celebrate National Forest Week this year. From Sept. 18 to 24, we will celebrate the roles our forests play in our everyday lives, our economy and communities, and the environment, as well as in our response to climate change.
This year’s theme, Canada’s Forests: Solutions for a Changing Climate, highlights how healthy forests and sustainable forestry are so crucial in the global fight against climate change.
Whether it is leading the country in tree planting, taking better care of our oldest and rarest forests, doubling our efforts to prevent wildfires, or using wood to replace products made from fossil fuels, B.C. continues to stand at the forefront of forest management in a climate-challenged world. In support of our climate action plan CleanBC, we are investing $19 million over three years to increase the carbon stored in B.C.’s forests and develop innovative, low-carbon forest-based products in partnership with First Nations.
If we are going to meet our climate goals, B.C. and the world need healthy forests and sustainable forestry now more than ever.
B.C.’s forests are a renewable resource when managed sustainably. Through our science-based reforestation efforts, B.C. has planted more than 1.1 billion trees since 2018. The hundreds of millions of trees planted this year will restore forest health and reduce the risk of landslides and floods while capturing carbon from the atmosphere.
Choosing products like mass timber for construction can reduce emissions by as much as 45 per cent, compared to concrete and steel. One cubic metre of wood can store approximately one tonne of carbon.
We are also working to build B.C.’s emerging forest bioeconomy. By using materials left over from logging to make everyday products like packaging and textiles, we can ensure a high-value, waste-free and low-carbon circular economy. This will help us build on our progress to reduce emissions from slash-pile burning, which have decreased by almost 40 per cent in the past five years. We are working toward the near-complete elimination of slash-pile burning as part of our CleanBC Roadmap to 2030.
We know that wildfires are a significant source of climate emissions and, in a bad fire season, can far exceed all other emission sources in the province. That’s why we are making historic investments to transform the BC Wildfire Service into a year-round service and shift to a more proactive approach focused on preventing wildfires. This will protect people and communities while also helping to fight climate change.
National Forest Week is a chance for us to reflect on the value of our forests and their importance for B.C.’s future. Please join us in this year’s celebrations taking place throughout the province.
Katrine Conroy is British Columbia’s minster of forests