Canfor has detailed Sustainable Forest Management Plans for each of its operations. They include plans, measures and activities that conserve and protect areas with high conservation values such as riparian (streamside or lakeshore) areas and old growth forests.
These plans outline our strategies for managing biodiversity at species, stand and landscape levels. Examples include strategies for down wood retention, riparian reserves, rare ecosystems, and species at risk. A comprehensive species accounting system has been developed for our BC operations by independent scientists so we can monitor key species groups and take action if negative impacts appear to be occurring. This system is being implemented in various stages, with our operations in the Chetwynd and East Kootenay regions taking the lead.
As part of our FSC certification, Canfor’s East Kootenay operations worked with environmental groups, government and wildlife experts to update their High Conservation Value Areas (HCV). These were first identified 10 years ago, and have been refined to incorporate new scientific knowledge and new information on locations of species at risk. HCV areas have special forestry management strategies developed to maintain or enhance the values within them.
We also partnered with Wildsight, a local environmental society, to conduct post-harvest effectiveness monitoring in cutblocks within these HCV areas. The results showed that management strategies were being incorporated into site plans and implemented in the field. The monitoring showed that our live tree retention was especially good in 2014, and that we had met overstorey live tree targets on all of the blocks. The monitoring suggested we could improve our practices around trail deactivation and ribboning around wet areas, and this will be a focus of training in 2016.
Canfor’s Forest Scientist has developed a strategy to manage the impacts of forest harvesting on migratory birds during their nesting season. This Migratory Bird Strategy was piloted in our Grande Prairie and Fort St. John operating areas for the last two years, and will be rolled out to all of our BC operations in 2016. It takes into account the various ecosystems, stand types, and nesting seasons of migratory birds, and includes a tool forest planners can use to schedule harvesting to reduce the impact on nesting birds. Training presentations have also been developed so forest workers know how to respond if they encounter a nest with eggs during their work.
In Alberta, Canfor has elected to use the Foothills Research Institute’s stream crossing program, which aims to monitor and improve stream crossings, implement new ideas, and improve the environmental record of participating companies like Canfor. We expect to have inspected all 232 inventoried stream crossings in the next five years.
While a healthy forest includes a range of stand ages, older forests play a significant role in maintaining biological diversity. In the Fort St. John and Prince George timber supply areas, we are working on projects that will spatially identify old growth management areas so we can protect the best examples of old growth forest in each of the different ecosystems occurring in these areas.