Friday, April 18, 2008

Help For BC Forest Industry

Province to Invest $25 Million

to Aid Forest Industries

Premier Gordon Campbell announced almost $25 million for reforestation, forest health initiatives and to market British Columbia’s forest products in B.C., across Canada and around the world today at the Council of Forest Industries annual meeting.

“The future of British Columbia’s forest industry is dependent on both the health of our forests and how we market and promote our world-class forest products across Canada and around the world,” said Campbell. “The funding announced today will not only help grow our forests, but also help develop new markets to sell B.C. products.”

The Province will invest $13.5 million to accelerate reforestation and research forest health. This includes:

  • $6 million for fertilization projects to treat an additional 15,000 hectares of actively growing forest around the province that will sequester 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  • $1.4 million invested in forest health activities to fight the western spruce budworm and Douglas-fir tussock moth and research new methods of seedling production.
  • $600,000 for seedling purchases to accelerate the Forests for Tomorrow program. The extra one million seedlings will absorb an additional 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime. The Forests for Tomorrow program will plant an additional 60 million seedlings over the next four years.
  • $5.5 million for the Future Forest Ecosystems Initiative research partnership with the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia for climate change studies related to forest and range management and adaptation.

Premier Campbell also announced $11.35 million through Forestry Innovation Investment to promote B.C. wood products by opening up new markets for the Coast and Interior, developing the value-added sector, and dealing with mountain pine beetle challenges.

“We’re supporting the development of new products and aggressively seeking new customers beyond the U.S.,” said Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman. “We want to explore new opportunities that will reposition the sector for long-term growth and stability.”

More than 80 per cent of B.C. wood products are sold outside Canada, with most of these sales going to the United States. Overseas demand for wood products continues to grow, and markets in Japan, China, Korea and Europe are increasingly attractive to B.C. companies.

“B.C. wood products have an excellent reputation around the world because they’re high quality and come from sustainably managed forests,” said John Allan, president and CEO of COFI. “Today’s announcement by the Province will help the industry market our products internationally and help weather the current downturn in the U.S.”

FII funding is leveraged by contributions from industry and the federal government. In total, more than $24.3 million is being directed to wood product development and marketing.


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