Skeena Sawmills plans to plant more than 400,000 trees in 2020, split between two of its forestry areas.
In the spring, Skeena Sawmills contracted Terrace-based Little Trees Reforestation to plant 117,800 trees at their Tree Farm Licence 41 Kitimat Valley site.
“We would prefer and go with local contractors, we don’t necessarily put out big tenders like some of the larger companies and solicit companies from out of town really, we try to support our local businesses,” said Mark Reiter, planning superintendent at Skeena Sawmills.
In September, Windfirm Resources Inc. in Smithers will be planting 286,000 trees for Skeena Sawmills in the larger Nass Timber Supply Area.
Reiter said that Skeena Sawmills usually plants around that number of trees every second year, depending on harvest levels. The company is obligated to pursue reforestation through their licence with the government because the projects are on Crown land.
Skeena Sawmills is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a third party auditor that sets standards and labels products so customers know if they are buying from a responsible source committed to reforestation.
“That certification is a very important part of our business process, particularly around our pellet plant, so our clients require that our forest management be certified by a third party auditor,” said Reiter.
The trees used for reforestation are between one to two years old and measure 10-15 centimetres tall. Skeena Sawmills uses a combination of natural regeneration and planted trees in its reforestation projects. Sometimes seeds already in the ground will sprout depending on the conditions.
“We often will supplement that, first we have to monitor that to make sure it’s coming back into the right standards because there are a lot of standards, like how many stems per hectare and species composition and form and vigour and health so we go out and so surveys on those, and if necessary we would fill plant those sites if it wasn’t up to standard,” said Reiter.
Skeena Sawmills is headquartered in Vancouver, with its sawmill operations located in Terrace. The facility has a capacity of around 120 million board feet of lumber production annually. Its sister company, Skeena BioEnergy Ltd. operates a pellet plant adjacent to the mill.