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INSIDE B.C. study could make finding copper deposits easier

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Canfor subsidiary complete purchase of Swedish PG 6 sawmills Locals keeping tour operators PG 7 afloat UNBC professor studying effects of glyphosate on northern B.C. forests

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Local craft cannabis grower readies to go to market

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Old growth forest strategy mixes diversity conservation, stakeholder needs

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Spruce beetle outbreak poses PG 18 harvesting challenges General Inquiries | 250-562-2441 Publisher | Peter Kvarnstrom Editor | Neil Godbout • Advertising | Nancy Johnson


505 4TH AVE | 250.562.2441 |

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B.C. study 198788.1.pdf could make 198788.1 INDUSTRY&TRADESOCT finding 2020 copper Run of Paper 2 x 4.667 deposits TridentLock&SecurityLtd easier Citizen Staff

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A new study by Geoscience BC could help mineral explorers locate copper deposits. The study looks at the chemical and textural characteristics of zircon mineral grains in granite that can provide clues to whether the rocks formed under “copper-friendly” conditions. The study was lead by Farhad Bouzari at University of British Columbia’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit. “The mineral zircon is a common accessory mineral in granitoid rocks, and has particular characteristics in granitoids that make up porphyry copper deposits,” Bouzari said in a press release. “Not all of these granitoid rocks or zircon grains are associated with copper deposits, so we looked for and found the chemical and textural differences in zircon mineral grains that are preferentially associated with copper deposits.” The data on zircon grains provides a new tool for mineral explorers, allowing them to pick exploration targets for copper deposits more efficiently and effectively. Trace element concentrations in the zircon can indicate the

age of the rock and provide information about the magma before it solidified into granite. Bouzari and his team also found the internal textures and zoning in the zircon gives clues about the environment the rocks formed in. The team examined more than 1,000 zircon grains from 42 samples collected from rocks in the Takomkane, Guichon Creek and Granite Mountain batholiths near the Woodjam porphyry district and Highland Valley Copper and Gibraltar mines in B.C.’s south central region, and the Toodoggone batholith near the Kemess mine north of Smithers. B.C. produced an estimated $1.8 billion of copper in 2019, according to Geoscience BC. “This is an important study to show that zircon textures relate with copper ‘fertility’ in granitoid rocks,” Geoscience BC vice president Christa Pellett said in a press release. “This adds another valuable cost-effective tool for evaluating porphyry potential across B.C.” The full report can be found online here: www.geosciencebc. com/projects/2016-032/. INDUSTRY & TRADE | WINTER 2020

cont. from pg 4

This map shows the locations where UBC researcher Farhad Bouzari and his team studied zircon grains in granite deposits that could provide clues to potential copper deposits.

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Canfor subsidiary complete purchase of Swedish sawmills

Citizen staff

Canfor’s Swedish subsidiary, Vida Group, has completed a purchase of three sawmills in the Scandanavian country. The company confirmed the acquisition in a brief notice issued in August. It follows on a June 17 announcement that Vida entered

an agreement to buy the mills for $43 million plus working capital. Purchased from Bergs Timber, they are located in Vimmerby, Mrlunda and Orrefors, Sweden, and will add about 215 million board feet to Vida’s annual capacity. With additional investment,

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Vida anticipates the production capacity of the mills can be increased to 300 million board feet, Canfor said in the June statement. After taking into account this additional production capacity, Canfor said Sweden represents 22 per cent of the company’s production capacity, plus 43 per

cent in British Columbia, 31 per cent in the southern United States and four per cent in Alberta. Canfor has a 70-per-cent stake in Vida Group, the company said.

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181667.1.pdf 181667.1 INDUSTRY & TRADES Run of Paper 2 x 9.5 Babine Truck & Equipment Ltd The Salmon Valley Campground is seen in a handout photo. Support PG handout photo

Locals keeping tourism operators afloat Mark Nielsen

Thank you, staycationers. With the COVID-19 pandemic exacting a serious blow to the viability of her operation, Salmon Valley Campground owner Bobbi Carpino doubts she would still be in business if not for the support of people living in Prince George and area. Aided by promotions through the Support PG website, Carpino said local residents have been filling up the campground on weekends - to the extent that they can given the measures put in place in the name of physical distancing. “If it wasn’t for them I don’t know that we’d be able to open our gates next year,” she said. Weekdays have been another matter. During the short four-and-a-halfmonth season, the campground relies heavily on travellers plying the route to Alaska and their numbers have plummeted. What’s more, campgrounds were forced to wait until June 1 to reopen, WINTER 2020 | INDUSTRY & TRADE

meaning they missed the May long weekend rush. And in the case of Salmon Valley Campground, capacity was limited to 30 of the 43 sites and the store and cafe were closed down. As of late August, revenue was down about 35 per cent and Carpino predicted it will be closer to 45 per cent by the time it’s closed down. Its last day of welcoming guests was this past Sunday, two weeks sooner than usual due to the lack of traffic heading back from the far north. In all, the short season was further shortened by about a month. “At least we were able to salvage a part of our season,” said Carpino, who will have finished her third season of running the campground. Wildfires, then heavy rain marked the first two seasons. “We’ve been competing with Mother Nature and now we’re competing with a pandemic,” she said. Now Carpino, like the operators of many businesses that rely on the


UNBC professor studying effects of glyphosate on northern B.C. forests Ecosystem science and management assistant professor Lisa Wood conducts field work into the impact of glyphosate-based herbicide use. UNBC handout photo

Citizen staff

With the help of more than $280,000 in grant funding, a University of Northern British Columbia professor is studying the long-term ecological impacts of glyphosate-based herbicide on forests in northern B.C. Ecosystem Science and Management Assistant Professor Dr. Lisa Wood said she and her students are currently focused on plant responses to both

climate-induced stress and herbicide-induced stress. “Since glyphosate-based herbicides have been used for decades in B.C. forests, and largely in the interior and northern portions of the province, and due to the importance of forests to our regional land-base, UNBC is the perfect centre for this type of research,” she says. “The local community is very interested in the topic, and many organizations are keeping

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close tabs on what my lab is up to.” Wood and her collaborators received a total of $281,726 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Of that, $149,226 will purchase three new stateof-the-art growth chambers for controlled experimentation. “These units can be used to control the environmental conditions for organisms, to test response to stimuli,” Wood

explains. “We expect to have them in place by the end of this year, and will be pursuing a project that looks at how the intensity and duration of glyphosate-based herbicide actions are altered by changes in environment.” The remaining $132,500 will be used to support Wood’s research as well as multiple graduate and undergraduate research projects.

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Adventure Package photo from Support PG website

cont. from pg 7

seasonal tourist rush, is scrambling to find ways to survive until next spring. She may have been thrown a bit of a lifeline as the federal government extended the deadline for applying for an interest-free loan through Canada Emergency Business Account. Up to $10,000 is forgivable if certain conditions are met. A bigger issue for Carpino is that campgrounds like hers are not eligible for the small business tax rate, and so are subject to the corporate rate of 49 per cent on profits. In other words, roughly half of what she clears goes to the government putting a major crimp on already slim savings. The tourism sector in general is seeking help. Tourism Industry Association of B.C. CEO Walt Judas said his organization has been lobbying the federal and provincial governments for an “ask” of $680

million to provide liquidity for the off season and aid in covering other costs related to the pandemic. “It’s a big ask until you consider that in British Columbia, the visitor economy provides about $1.7 billion in tax revenue to the province, $2.1 (billion) to the feds and about $700 million individual communities,” Judas said. “And when you look at it from the perspective of a $21.5-billion industry, $680 million to try to keep the businesses solvent and retain the tourism sector sounds big but it’s not.” The tourism industry meets the definition of exceptional circumstances in Judas’ view. “We’ve always said we’re the first and hardest hit and the last to recover,” he said.

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Local craft cannabis grower readies to go to market Mark Nielsen

Early October promises to be a watershed moment for Tara Kirkpatrick. She operates Backwoods BC Bud, which appears to be the first craft cannabis grower to be up and running in the Prince George area, and she is aiming to have four lines of her product on the market by that time. "I'm excited, I'm living out my dream," she said during inter-

view over the phone Kirkpatrick is no newcomer to the industry. For 19 years she has grown medical marijuana and takes credit for a strain she says has helped reduce epileptic seizures. "I've been a farmer my whole life," Kirkpatrick said. "I grew up on a farm and it was a natural gravitation, going from vegetables to different types of plants. "Cannabis was one of the things

I wanted to grow and study and research and develop because most of our medicines are made from plants. It was just one of my key interests and the fact that I really like to help people." Charles Wentworth of Nibbler, a consulting firm who guided Kirkpatrick through the process of securing a licence for smallscale production from Health Canada, said his client is part of a trend across Canada of farms

turning to cannabis to keep them in the family. "It is a way to revitalize the existing legacy family farm that's been there for multiple generations by simply changing what the farm produces from one crop to another type of crop," he said. "What it does is it allows these farms to become commercially viable again so they can be handed onto the next genera-

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cont. from pg 12

tion rather than being sold on to developers or being sold on and being made into one large operation." Kirkpatrick's "canopy" covers 2,150 square feet, the maximum the federal government allows for so-called microcultivators. Her operation will produced a higher-quality product than that pushed out by the large-scale growers, Kirkpatrick and Wentworth went on to assert. "No large company can say that their master grower hand picks and produces the bud all the way through the life cycle because you can't do that over 10 acres," Wentworth said. "That would be one tired person." They likened the process to the difference between mass produced chocolate and that made by an artisan chocolatier involved in every stage of the process. "Each and every plant is handled with love, right from the beginning through to harvest so that we're producing that topquality cannabis for the craft consumers," Kirkpatrick said.

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No cutline, but Backwoods Bud BC logo included




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Old growth forest strategy mixes diversity conservation, stakeholder needs Jeremy Hainsworth, Glacier Media

Victoria will take a holistic approach to old-growth forest protection, including protection of nine areas province-wide totalling almost 353,000 hectares, as it responds to a review announced a year ago. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson said Victoria will government will work with Indigenous leaders and organizations, labour, industry and environmental groups to work together in conserving biodiversity while supporting jobs and communities. The commitment comes on the release of an independent panel report, A New Future for Old Forests, which made 14 recommendations, including: • declaring conservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity of British Columbia’s forests as an overarching priority and enact legislation that legally establishes this priority for all sectors; • adopting a three-zone forest management framework to guide forest planning and decision-making. • adopting a more inclusive and stable governance model that gives local communities and stakeholders a greater role in forest management decisions that affect them. • defer development in old

forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss until a new strategy is implemented; • bringing old forests management into compliance with existing provincial targets and guidelines for maintaining biological diversity; • establishing and funding a more robust monitoring and evaluation system for updating management of old forests. • updating targets for retention and management of old and ancient forest. • improving mapping and classification of old forests to recognize multiple values, and; • supporting forest sector workers and communities as they adapt to changes resulting from a new forest management system Some recommendations fall short of an earlier ‘what we heard’ report which noted suggestions for: • an immediate moratorium on old growth logging in the province; • an immediate halt on logging in old-growth ‘hotspots’ while Victoria develops its strategy; • a moratorium on logging old growth ecosystems, especially on Vancouver Island, in southwestern British Columbia, and in the Interior wet belt, until an inventory has been made of the remaining old growth forest, and new regulations devised; INDUSTRY & TRADE | WINTER 2020

cont. from pg 14

Cedars are seen at Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park in 2013. In September, the provincial government announced its plans for managing the province’s old-growth forests. Citizen file phot

• immediate action to protect the little remaining old, and second-growth forests of the Coastal Douglas-fir region; • suspension of harvesting and development in Coastal Douglas fir old growth ecosystems and develop a strategy for old forest recruitment. Donaldson said management has relied on a patchwork concept resulting in biodiversity loss. “Those who are calling for the status quo to remain are risking crucial biodiversity loss, while those who are calling for immediate moratoriums on logging are ignoring the needs of tens of thousands of workers,” Donaldson said. “Our government

believes in supporting workers, while addressing the needs of oldgrowth forests, and these values will guide our new approach.” Victoria announced appointment of the two-person Old Growth Strategic Review in July 2019. That review resulted in the report, delivered to government in the spring. Professional forester and natural resource expert Garry Merkel, and professional forester and former chair of the Forest Practices Board Al Gorley were asked to consult with stakeholders on the ecological, economic and cultural importance of old-growth trees and forests. They reported back to govern-

ment in spring 2020 with recommendations to inform a new approach to old-growth management. Merkel and Gorley outlined a four-phased process to develop and implement an old-growth strategy, with immediate actions in the first six months, near-term actions over six to 12 months, mid-term actions over six to 18 months and long-term actions over 18 to 36 months. Initial actions government is taking to formulate the old strategy include: • deferring old forest harvesting in nine areas throughout the province totalling 352,739 hectares as a first step, and com-

mitting to engaging, initiating or continuing discussions with Indigenous leaders; • working to address information gaps, update inventory and improve public access to information, and bring management of old forests into compliance with existing provincial targets and guidelines, and; • involving industry, environmental groups, community-based organizations and local governments in discussions on report recommendations and the future of old-growth forests in B.C., and the social, economic and environmental implications for communities. “We have provided our recomcont. on pg 17

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cont. from pg 15

mendations to the minister and look forward to government’s response,” Merkel said. “We are also pleased that the province has agreed that the first step in improving old-growth management is to adopt a government-togovernment approach with full involvement of Indigenous leaders, governments and organizations in proposed changes.” Work is also underway to protect up to 1,500 exceptionally large, individual trees under the Special Tree Protection Regulation. The ministry said that supports a 2019 commitment develop a permanent approach to protecting big, iconic trees. The ‘what we heard” report noted a 1992 strategy said, “in parts of the province, meanwhile, opportunities to reserve representative samples of old growth are dwindling rapidly. But, Merkel and Gorley said, parts of that work “were either discarded or only partly implemented. “Had that strategy been fully implemented, we likely would not be

facing the challenges around old growth to the extent we are today, such as: high risk of biodiversity loss in many ecosystems; risk to existing and potential economic benefits; and widespread lack of confidence in the system of managing forests,” they said. B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI) president Susan Yurkovich said much of B.C.’s old growth forest will never be logged. What she said needs to come from the report is a balancing of conservation against the economic potential of the province’s forests. “We really need to do a good economic and social analysis while we’re looking at this,” she said. Sierra Club BC senior forest and climate campaigner Jens Wieting said called the report “pretty strong” but said the government response is missing a commitment to several things, particularly funding. “It will be a challenge to end oldgrowth logging,” he said, noting money would be needed for displaced workers finding new jobs.

“Our initial assessment is that the independent old-growth panel’s recommendations offer a blueprint to safeguard B.C.’s endangered old-growth forests within three years,” Wieting said. “While we welcome these first steps, what’s missing from today’s announcement is a commitment to implement all of the report’s recommendations with full funding.” Funding, though, may be an issue as B.C. finds itself facing a deficit forecast of $12.8 billion for the 2020-21 fiscal year due mainly in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wieting said that should not be a deterrence. “We need to spend more to make sure we can have a life on this planet,” he said. “The intact forests are very important for our wellbeing. It’s about our future and our survival.” The Wilderness Committee said it agreed with the reports’ 14 recommendations, especially the need for First Nations to be at the centre of decision-making around old-growth and for forest manage-

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ment decisions. “Old-growth forests in B.C. are in crisis and today the government has acknowledged logging them is unsustainable,” said Wilderness Committee national campaign director Torrance Coste. “But the reality is, important, non-renewable forests with thousand year-old trees and critical habitat for endangered species will still be cut down today, so this needs to be a first step with substantial follow up in the immediate future,” Coste said. A 2017 report by consulting firm PwC said the forestry industry contributed $12.94 billion in gross domestic product to the province and supported more than 140,000 jobs directly and indirectly. That report was commissioned by the Council of Forest Industries. About 33 per cent of the province’s 13.2 million hectares of old-growth forests are protected in national and provincial parks, wildlife habitat ranges, regional water supply sheds, old-growth management areas and other areas, according to the province.




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Spruce beetle outbreak poses harvesting challenges Christine Hinzmann

Industry and government are working with other partners to harvest the growing number of trees killed in the current spruce beetle outbreak. With more than 250,000 hectares in the Prince George district already damaged by the largest spruce beetle outbreak in more than 30 years, the clock is already ticking to log the dead trees while they still have commercial value. There is a seven-year look ahead plan that is key to battling the spruce beetle devastation. “The key to this thing is the area licensees, including Conifex, Canfor, Sinclar Group Forest Products, BC Timber Sales, Carrier Lumber, they are going to harvest, they are going to address where that beetle is and what they can get at, “ John Pousette, director for the Provincial Bark Beetle Response who was appointed to coordinate response efforts across the province, said. Every year plans are updated after an evaluation to consider the latest in monitoring. As far as controlling the spruce beetle infestation, the government is relying on harvesting


while taking extra care to keep the unaffected portion of the forest intact. In today’s market, spruce beetle killed timber has a five-year shelf life but longer if the wood is used as fibre for pulp or bioenergy. CNC was part of a multi-partner milling study that was done recently to see the grade and product value when processing spruce beetle killed timber and the results showed a reduction on lumber end-product value. Stumpage rates will be significantly lower now to reflect the downgrade of spruce beetle killed wood and to encourage salvage. Despite the lower stumpage fees, certain forest licensees have suggested some stands that were attacked by the spruce beetle early on are not profitable in the current market. BC Timber Sales has seen several “no bids” on spruce beetle impacted wood in the Mackenzie area. The Land Based Investment Strategy (LBIS) has spent about $1 million per year over the past five years in the Omineca Region on flights to identify impacted areas and surveys to identify priority operational areas, as INDUSTRY & TRADE | WINTER 2020

cont. from pg 18

This map shows the areas being managed for spruce beetles in the Prince George area. B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development handout image

well as wood decay research and public engagement. “Because the mountain pine beetle was here and our midterm timber supply (11-50 years) was reduced because of that our main goal is to maintain a mid-

term timber supply as high as possible and that means we want licensees to focus their harvest on dead and dying trees,” Pousette said. “We don’t want them to focus on green trees. If there are dead trees out

there to harvest, that’s where we want them to cut because every green tree they harvest is a tree that could be harvested later on.” When possible, the expectation is that trees containing live beetles be removed

selectively from any stand before spreading to unaffected areas. The most severely impacted stands will be of the highest priority for planning and harvesting and stands will be harvested in order of descending priority. Stands with less than 50 per cent dead trees without a significant component of susceptible spruce beetle infestation have a low priority for harvest, especially when analysis shows good potential for the reestablishment of these stands to contribute to the future timber supply. Whether to harvest or conserve old growth spruce stands is a difficult decision. “A lot of old gowth trees are spruce,” Pousette said. “Old spruce is susceptible to spruce beetle and we then have to accept the fact that we may be leaving old dead trees. It gets kind of complicated in terms of values and what we’re doing out there. Our main objective right now is to maintain the mid term timber supply.” Right now for example, Pousette said, the maximum allowable cut

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determination for Mackenzie is 4 million cubic metres and of that only 2 million cubic metres is live and the rest is dead trees being harvested. Because the Prince George area has been hit hard, Pousette said that if all of the attacked trees were logging over a short time, the logged areas would be quite bare. Leaving the mature growth in a spruce stand might look bad in the short term but spruce tree stands are not like pine forests. There is significant secondary growth in spruce stands. Often, what lies below the tall spruce in a stand is a diverse blend trees of all ages and species that include balsam, pine, fir, hemlock and spruce. Sometimes leaving the dead trees in a stand to be over taken by the younger spruce growing underneath is the best choice. “So we have to be careful what we choose - what we leave and what we don’t,” Pousette said.



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Profile for Prince George Citizen

Industry & Trade Fall 2020