As industry and governments continue to adapt forest management to climate change, there is a growing need for readily available information to provide guidance in future-proofing forest operations. An increasing wealth of valuable climate change data and forecasting is available from a variety of sources, but it can be a challenge for those responsible for forest operations management to interpret this data for their applications. To address this information gap, FPInnovations has been working on the development of regional climate forecasts and vulnerability assessments throughout British Columbia.
INTEGRAL VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS
FPInnovations has previously performed three climate change vulnerability assessments for resource roads in B.C. (www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-resource-use/resource-roads/climate-adaptation). Using a broadly applied assessment approach allows for obtaining crucial and valuable information related to all phases of forest operations management. Based on the learnings from the three earlier assessments, FPInnovations developed a general approach to:
1. Identify the key climate indices and related climate conditions that are the most relevant in determining the vulnerabilities of forest operations to climate change
2. Determine industry and government perceptions on historic and current climate induced challenges
3. Determine potential future forest operations challenges because of forecasted changes in climate
Combining the experience developed in these earlier vulnerability assessments along with a literature review as well as consultations with climate specialists, FPInnovations identified six climate indices to be the most relevant to determine the vulnerabilities of forest operations to climate change. FPInnovations is currently working with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium to develop grid-layer maps to represent each of these six indices across B.C.
The first round of industry and government consultations highlighted many key issues, challenges, and impacts. Among other questions, participants were asked if they had experienced an increase in costs in recent years due to climate change.
In the Northern Region, 100 per cent of participants indicated a noticeable to significant increase in costs, while the rate was 80 per cent in the Southern Region. Interestingly, the participants in the Coastal Region indicated that there has been no increase in costs in recent years.
Examples of the impacts of climate change in the Northern Region—primarily from increased precipitation—included delays in performing slash pile burns, transportation shutdowns occurring more frequently, as well as more water crossing structure washouts due to increased streamflows and debris loading.
In the Southern Region, similar impacts were identified, though there were increased concerns related to heavy rainfall events and periods of drought. These conditions have stressed overall tree health, increased road maintenance costs, and have also created more frequent summer shutdowns due to drought and wildfire.
The Coastal Region consultations did not identify many specific concerns or issues related to most phases to forest operations management. In many aspects, the conditions in the Coastal Region are already considered extreme compared to much of the province. However, the consultations revealed an observed increase in the occurrence of natural landslide events.
In the coming months, FPInnovations will continue the consultation work and interpretation of the climate indices and variable data to produce reports on the regional vulnerabilities to climate change of forest operations throughout B.C.
These reports and supporting spatial datasets will be extremely valuable, allowing those responsible for forest operations management to implement climate-smart adaptation practices into their operations
For more information, please contact Mark Partington at [email protected].
By Tony Kryzanowski in Partnership with the University of Guelph
Harvest, recovery and evaluation will wrap up soon on two, 20 to 30 hectare, short rotation afforestation sites attached to the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre's National Network of Short Rotation Afforestation Sites - one in Guelph, Ontario and the other near St. Albert, Alberta.
The two plantations grew trees of various ages, species and designs to maximize biomass and fibre yield under various management regimes and intensities. They were harvested and will be sampled for mass analysis, followed by full tree chipping to assess the recovery process and efficiency of each stage.
The objective of this recovery study is to assess carbon sink and validate wood fibre/ biomass growth and yield, and to effectively recover the primary stems as well as branches and tops.
In Guelph, hybrid poplar clones suitable for that bio-geo-climatic zone were identified and planted in 2005 and 2009 at 1100 and 4400 stems per hectare, making them 16 and 12 year plantings. Prior to harvest, the trees had grown to heights of up to 20 metres and up to 24 centimeters in diameter.
In Alberta, hybrid poplar and selected high production clonal aspen, suitable for this bio-geo-climatic zone, were planted in 2009 and 2010, with 1600 and 6400 stems per hectare. They achieved a height growth of 8, 12, and 15 metres based on their age and specific management regime.
A feller buncher was used to harvest each site and detailed evaluations will occur before full tree chipping and transport of wood fibre to secondary end users for pulp, energy production, and for landscape or livestock mulch.
After harvest on the Guelph site, the trees were bunched and moved to the roadside using a skidder, attempting to minimize branch and top damage.
On the Alberta site, the feller buncher harvested the trees in a systematic pattern, walking easily between the access corridors spaced 50 m apart, and accumulating trees in one direction and then the other. The wood was decked at the end of each row by gentling laying them down to minimize damage to the branches and tops, with the objective of maximizing biomass recovery from the site.
Prior to chipping and transportation, R & D staff from CWFC and the University of Guelph will complete a variety of important measurements. This includes permanent sample plot physical measurements related to stem heights and diameters, mass of each measured tree, and measuring tree mass without branches and tops to five centimetres in diameter. Deck face and tree length sampling will be completed at roadside where the trees will be or were grinded. Mass will be tracked from the piles recovery while being loading into walking-floor trainers, as well as at the scale of the final user.
One added achievement and value is the recovery of primary top leaders from the harvested trees on the St. Albert site, resulting in the production of about 150,000 high quality cuttings to reinvest in the establishment of new plantations.
“I can honestly say I enjoyed harvesting these trees just as much as I enjoyed planting and growing them,” says Derek Sidders, Program Manager, Technology Development, CWFC.For more information about this wood fibre/biomass recovery program, contact Derek Sidders at [email protected].
With an eye on addressing the demand for innovative training to address global issues, the University of BC Faculty of Forestry is proud to be launching new degree and certificate programs beginning in 2021.
CLIMATE VULNERABILITY & ADAPTATION (CVA) MICRO-CERTIFICATE
With government and certification agencies requiring more accountability in meeting climate change vulnerability and adaptation standards, the Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation (CVA) program offers working professionals a great option. Only 10 weeks in duration, the micro-certificate will deliver training for those who wish to advance their knowledge base in the area in a convenient, online format.
Ideal for natural resources professionals, the micro-certificate has been designed and will be taught by seasoned experts who have worked extensively with the resources sector and governments, and organizing training and workshops on the topic area. Students will leave with an interdisciplinary understanding gleaned from real-world application, such as industry case studies in sustainable forest management and linkages between the science-management-business case interface.
The new program was scheduled to start on February 15, 2021. To learn more about the CVA, visit https://forestry. ubc.ca/micro-certificate/.
If you're interested in registering for the next session, please contact https://forestry.ubc.ca/programs/certificate/climate-micro-certificate/contact/.
GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN FOREST MANAGEMENT & CONSERVATION (FMC)
Today’s sustainable forest management practices must factor in political, legal, administrative, business, scientific and First Nations land stewardship considerations. UBC Forestry’s new Graduate Certificate in Forest Management & Conservation (FMC) program addresses the need for global learners looking to advance their knowledge and expertise in this area.
With classes to start in September 2021, this fully digital, customizable, graduate-level certificate will allow working professionals to complete their training in 2 years or less. Students will leverage new technology and use science-based practices to learn how to sustainably manage forests in rapidly changing social and political environments.
MASTER OF URBAN FORESTRY LEADERSHIP DEGREE (MUFL) PROGRAM
This 14-month online program takes a multi-disciplinary approach, as the courses will be offered by UBC’s Faculty of Forestry, the Sauder School of Business, and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. Graduates from this program will have a combination of skills rarely offered by a single degree program.
For more information about MUFL, visit: https://forestry.ubc.ca/programs/graduate/professional-masters-degrees/master-of-urban-forestry-leadership/.
On the Cover:
Logging contractor Tyler Backer of Pro Link Logging has seen a technological revolution within British Columbia’s forest industry, and says he’s always got an eye open for new harvesting equipment developments and techniques that might enhance Pro Link Logging’s efficiency. Read all about his logging approach—and the equipment he executes that approach with, such as this Hitachi 260 processor —beginning on page 18 of this issue (photo courtesy of Pro Link Logging).
B.C. partnership steps up to the plate in training equipment operators
The City of Quesnel, B.C. and partners are looking to step up to the plate to train logging equipment operators on harvesting methods new to most B.C. loggers.
Virtual convention coming up
The BC Council of Forest Industries’ Annual Convention is going virtual for 2021, and we talk with COFI CEO Susan Yurkovich about the compelling speakers and the important issues in forestry that will be discussed at the convention in April—and what new U.S. President Joe Biden might mean for the industry.
Dealing with changing logging logistics
Logging contractor Tyler Backer is dealing with changing logging logistics in the B.C. Interior these days, such as working in steeper ground—but he has the dedicated people and tough iron to successfully take it all on.
Landrich 2.0 is launched
The Landrich harvester 2.0 version has been launched by New Brunswick’s A. Landry Fabrication, and the new machine features a number of improvements suggested by very loyal customers of the original Landrich harvester.
Enhancing pellet production—and quality—at Pinnacle
Pinnacle Renewable Energy recently completed a $30 million investment package in B.C.’s Cariboo region designed to enhance pellet production efficiency—and product quality.
Big recovery boost for Quebec mill with upgrade
The Bois CFM Inc. sawmill in Sainte-Florence, Quebec recently installed a new optimized primary and secondary line from USNR to meet growing customer demand, that will move its production to the next level.
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC), FPInnovations and the Faculty of Forestry of University of B.C.
The Last Word
Jim Stirling takes a look ahead for the forest industry, beyond the recent elections, and COVID-19.