A forwarder is used for thinning and spacing work at the Williams Lake Community Forest. (Photo submitted)

A forwarder is used for thinning and spacing work at the Williams Lake Community Forest. (Photo submitted)

FOREST INK: Leave the best and take the rest

The idea is to remove some of the competition of the understory species to improve growth

This catchy phrase describes spacing and commercial thinning systems that have been used for years in some European forest industries.

The idea is to remove some of the competition of the understory species to improve the growth of the larger more valuable trees used for lumber.

An article by Cheryl Jahn writing for CKPG Today describes how Pacific Bioenergy has a strong need for junky wood, such as the deciduous trees and the stunted and unhealthy pine, spruce and Douglas fir.

Much of our traditional harvesting involved clearing everything off the land, taking the viable wood to the mills and piling the “junk” into slash piles which were often burned. If done properly removing the lower residual material improves the chances for the larger stands to grow healthier and as the understorey recovers more food sources would become available for deer, moose and other forest creatures.

READ MORE: Impacts of artificial intelligence

Pacific Bioenergy is the perfect customer for the junk wood since it uses around 800,000 cubic metres a year in the Prince George Timer Supply Area (PGTSA). The problem is residual wood is becoming scarce because of mill closures and with mountain pine beetle salvage winding down the annual allowable cut is dropping. Fewer sawmills means less residuals and that makes for a good fit between logging companies wanting to practice sustainable logging and Pacific Bioenergy who needs the wood.

And while it is a more intensive style of log harvesting, it may be a direction for the future with a demand for a greener industry. There will probably be some limitations how far the residual material can be economically trucked to the pellet plant but it will be a much better option than spraying the material with herbicides.

In my opinion this new style of logging would benefit the commercial forest and many browsing animals it may pose some impacts if it is not properly planned. There should also be a long range plan on the optimum location of future blocks that take into consideration biodiversity.

It happens there is an recent article on proper planning in the same news source about the Forest Practices Board (FPB) being concerned over biodiversity relating to old growth forests in the PGTSA.

Matt Fetinko in an article “Biodiversity at risk in PG Timber Supply Area” describes the following: “While all the legal requirements are being met, the investigation outlined several issues with how government and licensees are managing old forest. The legal order for biodiversity was developed nearly 20 years ago and while much has changed in regards to forestry, this order was not. The PG TSA is the largest in the province totalling roughly eight-million hectares.

“One of the key issues is that the legal requirements have not been reviewed or updated to reflect the impacts of the mountain pine beetle, updated science or society’s changing values,” said Kevin Kriese, chair of the FPB. “The PG TSA is also one of the few areas in the province where the amount of old forest legally required to be conserved is not specifically identified on maps, but is measured as a percentage of the overall forest inventory.”

READ MORE: Long-term, positive results using an organic approach

This creates risks to other forest values because the old growth may not be properly distributed throughout the TSA. Because of the beetles, wildfires and subsequent salvage logging the FPB is recommending that the remaining old forest be mapped and that government revisit its approach to protection of biodiversity in the PG TSA.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CaribooColumnist

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

The City of Williams Lake is awaiting the arrival of seven terrain park features typically found at ski hills to create more winter recreational opportunities in Boitanio Park. (Arena Snowparks Instagram)
City shows cool side with winter, Boitanio rail park

“We’re just waiting for their arrival and a little more snow,” Atkinson said.

Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars provides a community COVID-19 update from his home Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Williams Lake First Nation Facebook image)
WLFN chief reports 11 members fully recovered from COVID-19

23 active cases remains, says Chief Willie Sellars

A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed on Jan. 5, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
Power outage spoils COVID-19 vaccine at Tl’etinqox

Temperature-sensitive vaccine no longer viable after Jan. 18 event

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read