Terrace Community Forests moves forward on forest-thinning project

Tackling high density could lead to healthier forests and industry, TCF says

(Black Press file photo)

A Terrace Community Forest (TCF) project to thin out high-density second-growth forests in the area, to access underutilized timber, is moving forward.

The TCF, an independently operated logging company owned by the city, covers more than 25,000 hectares within the Coast Mountains Resource District. TCF holds a long-term Community Forest Agreement with rights to harvest crown timber within the area, 10 per cent of which is comprised of overcrowded second-growth forests.

Purpose-driven growing and cultivation, harvesting and spacing plans could increase the number of trees available for harvest, says TCF general manager Kim Haworth.

“Our Community Forest has, within its operating areas, a large contingent of unmanaged, high-density second-growth forest,” Haworth says. “As a result of this overcrowding, growth rates of all trees are negatively impacted and understory development of small shrubs and vegetation is non-existent, leading to poor biodiversity values necessary for wildlife sustainability.”

READ MORE: Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

These younger second-growth forests differ from a biodiversity standpoint as they have higher tree densities, lower variations in tree size and canopy structure than old growth. When a section is thinned, it opens up the canopy to allow for light to reach the ground and drive vegetation growth. Over time, this can lead to a more diverse forest with old-growth characteristics, according to a University of British Columbia 2012 report.

The project to thin out these commercial trees is funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) and currently in the planning and development phase, with the aim of being operational in the near future. TCF applied for the funding to offset some of the harvest costs which would allow the group to provide more volume to the Skeena Sawmill and pellet plant.

“This work enables us to support approximately 10 additional local forestry-related jobs while improving habitat across the landscape for wildlife like moose and grizzly bear. Additionally, the lower grade fibre harvested will be utilized to produce wood pellets at the local sawmill, again supporting more local jobs and utilizing fibre which historically had been treated as wood waste. It’s a big win for our community and industry,” Haworth says.

READ MORE: Is this the world’s cleanest pellet plant?

Although the project was specific to TCF’s operating areas, these types of forest with the same challenges of high-density second growth are found throughout the Kalum Timber Supply Area and other nearby area-based forest tenures. If successful, the project could be applied across the District, TCF says.

A final report will be produced for feedback from the public, First Nations, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

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