COFI Day 2 focuses on forestry’s future from a local government perspective, and old growth et al

By Travis Joern, Director of Communication, COFI
Tree Frog Forestry News
April 12, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

The first panel focused on the perspectives of local leaders with the Mayor of Prince George Simon Yu, the Councillor of the District of Vanderhoof Brian Frenkel and the Councillor of of Campbell River, Susan Sinnott. The session was moderated by Lisa Dominato, MA, GCB.D, Councillor of the City of Vancouver.

Local government navigates issues on the ground, close to the day-to-day realities of the industry. Simon Yu pointed out that our industry is in the forest enhancement business, where there is a growing opportunity to work on wildfire resilience and greater opportunities to be turning residuals and salvage into energy for communities to use. Frenkel has seen alignment between government and industry over the years. He noted that industry will have an important role with initiatives for conservation, and forest management will be key as the impacts of climate change become increasingly severe. Sinnott advocated for public education, bringing her community into the conversation on the importance of resource extracting industries where proper engagement of First Nations communities is key. Industry supports the tax base that enables social services and resources that contribute to communities on a whole. The panel discussed potential solutions for wildfire risks, looking to new technology such as AI and how to adjust existing projects. Long-term planning is fundamental with all stakeholders in the room, and the path towards reconciliation is what the municipal government has been wanting for a long time.

In the armchair session “Old Growth, Biodiversity, Conservation Financing and Three Zone Management: Connecting-the-Dots on the Managed Landscape”, Deputy Minister, B.C. Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, Lori Halls, and Former Chair, BC Forest Practices Board and Co-Author of Old Growth Strategic Review Al Gorley discuss the opportunity ahead. The session is moderated by Vice President and Chief Forester of COFI, Michael Armstrong, RPF, CPA, CA. Cooperation between government, First Nations, industry and community is necessary to work towards consensus that addresses the values of all with a commitment to prioritize biodiversity and ecosystem health. While there is no simple answer, improvements can be made in creating a roadmap towards protecting this biodiversity and maintaining healthy forests for the future.

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