Regional News: Canfor updates sustainable forestry plan

Canfor is in the final stages of preparing its new Sustainable Forest Management Plan.

Canfor is in the final stages of preparing its new Sustainable Forest Management Plan.

Work on the plan began more than a year ago, and a draft version has been available for public comment for the past two months.

The impetus for the plan came when Canfor acquired Tembec forest license holdings in the Radium Hot Springs area. Canfor had operated its other holdings in the East Kootenay under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standards, while the Tembec holding was run under the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification standards.

“So basically what we are doing with this new plan is bring the two existing management plans together, and merging them into a single plan that meets both certification criteria,” said Canfor First Nations and planning co-ordinator Grant Neville.

Both existing management plans are about 10 years old, but each already undergoes sporadic updates as science progress and forest management practices correspondingly change.

“It’s a continuous improvement cycle,” said Neville.

The first step in putting together the new Sustainable Forest Management Plan was consulting with various stakeholders groups, a public advisory group (comprised of stakeholders, citizens and environmental groups such as Wildsight), and First Nations.

“We then put it out for review and comment,” said Neville, adding that process resulted in 15 comments, and the company will begin contacting the comment writers soon. Where appropriate, it will incorporate their feedback into the plan.

“We’re hoping to finalize the plan in late August or early September,” he said. “I give the public advisory group a lot of credit for the work they’ve done. It’ll be good to have a finished product and people are justifiably proud of what’s been accomplished in this plan.”

The new plan is comprehensive in nature, providing both a strategic approach (dealing with overall concepts) a tactical approach (laying out specific procedures).