ForestryApr 24, 2017
British Columbia’s forests are truly a global treasure. A diverse geography and climate across a very large area combine to create incredible diversity of forest ecosystems. In fact, British Columbia has a higher degree of ecosystem diversity than any other Province or Territory in Canada and is among the most diverse in the world. 1/3 of the over 4000 plant and animal species in BC rely on forests for some portion of their life cycle.Did you know that there are 49 native species of trees in BC?
BC’s forests cover almost 2/3 of the province. (Over 55 million hectares) .They range from the dry ponderosa pine forests in the southern interior to the boreal forest in the northeast to the temperate rainforests along the Pacific Coast.
Most (83%) of BC’s forests are dominated by conifer species like pine, fir, spruce, cedar and hemlock and 41% of these forests are older than 140 years old.
About 14% of BC’s forests are in parks and protected areas that exclude resource extraction activities like logging or mining. Did you know that most of BC’s forests are on public land, which means they belong to you and I – the citizens of BC?
Timber harvesting is very important for BC’s economy and we harvest more timber in BC than any other Province or Territory in Canada. The BC Government allows companies to harvest this timber in certain areas according to a very complex set of rules including how much can be harvested every year and requirements to grow new forests after harvesting. Up until about 20 years ago, most harvesting in BC was clear-cut, but today variable retention and clearcutting with reserves where some trees are left is most common
According to the BC Government, an estimated 98% of BC's forests have achieved sustainable forest management certification from one or more of the major certification standards.
The amount of timber harvested each year in B.C. has increased in the last 100 years. Today we harvest about 69 million cubic metres every per year – that’s enough logs to fill 1.73 million logging trucks (40 m3/truck) or 31 BC Places!! (2.25 million m3/stadium).
Timber is used to make valuable products like we use every day including lumber and plywood to make houses, and pulp and paper products for things cardboard boxes and toilette paper! According to the Council Of Forest Industries, 1 out of every 16 jobs in BC is related to forestry totalling about 145,000 jobs. For every 1 m3 we harvest, BC generates $126 of GDP.
Forests are also very important for ecological goods and services. Forests create soil, filter water, and clean the air. Forests also catch and store carbon from our atmosphere helping us to reduce global warming. Forest grasses also provide 60% of the food needed for BC’s cattle herd.
And people love to spend time recreating in BC’s forests. There are 23,000 campsites in BC, and most of them are in our forests!
There are many natural forest disturbances including wildfire, avalanches, insects, disease, and flooding. We will talk more about these under Natural Disturbance.
In BC Tomorrow, forestry activity is included under industrial activity.
Use BC Tomorrow to see how industrial activity may affect the environment and economy in the future.
British Columbia is in your hands! See what you can do!
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