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The forest industry still very important
It’s time to start telling the full story about B.C.’s coastal forest industry, Coast Forest Products Association along with its member companies are doing just that.
With more than 38,000 people whose jobs and livelihoods rely on a healthy coastal forestry sector, it’s clear that forestry is an integral part of the fabric of coastal communities all over Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and up to Haida Gwaii.
What’s also clear to me is that there are not enough of us sharing our stories and experiences that demonstrate the significance of our industry — and importance of a healthy and modern coastal forest sector. Our sector has undergone a major transition and made enormous strides over the recent years. Today it is a sustainable, modern and innovative industry.
There are so many reasons to be proud of the sector and, because of this, now is the moment when we need to start a meaningful conversation about who we are today so we can build our future.
Need a bit of prompting? Let me first tell you why I’m proud to be a part of forestry in coastal B.C.
Our industry is renewable — and sustainable. We work hard to maintain our position as a world leader in sustainable forest management and environmentally-friendly building products and that’s good news for the environment. In B.C., we harvest less than 1% of our forests every year, and on the coast, we plant more than 17 million seedlings annually.
We provide important livelihoods for coastal communities. Even if you are not one of the more than 38,000 people in forestry, transportation or marine who depend on our industry for your livelihood — directly or indirectly — you still benefit. Our industry is central to the economies of many communities, and we pay taxes and stumpage that help provide public services and infrastructure across B.C.
Forestry is at the root of who we are. As British Columbians, forestry is where we all came from. Our sector made possible the transportation networks and other services so vital to individuals who enjoy a unique West Coast lifestyle. We have created a culture of wood that has spread around the globe as others appreciate our sustainable, high-quality wood and paper products.
We are all in this together. People on the coast care about their forests, and this includes people in forestry. That’s why we make sure we consult with coastal residents, First Nations and community groups during our planning, and why most of our operations are independently certified to internationally recognized standards.
We are looking to the future. The claim that forestry is a sunset industry is itself, outdated. Every day I see advances in technology, market expansion, and endless possibilities for new products such as sound abatement fencing, nanocrystaline cellulose and green building products.
We are growing and hiring skilled people. If you are looking for a career with a future, keep coastal forestry on your radar.
Rick Jeffery is the President & CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association. Share your thoughts at the website, ourforestsourroots.org