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FESBC support aids NorthPac Forestry Group’s fibre recovery efforts


September 23, 2021
By P&PC Staff

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Moe MacLean at Minette Bay with NorthPac logs destined for a coastal pulp mill. (Photo: FESBC)

Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) provided a $484,164 grant to support NorthPac Forestry Group’s fibre recovery project in the forested areas near Hazelton in northwest British Columbia. Coastal pulp mills in the area are using residual wood fibre, reducing pile burning and greenhouse gas emissions.

This effort is boosting local and provincial economies while also contributing to B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets.

“Our FESBC-funded project allowed us to increase the overall recovery of fibre from our area forests, resulting in a greater availability of logs for domestic pulp producers and a reduction of the amount of biomass that is burned each year,” said Cathy Craig, CEO, NorthPac Forestry Group.

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Legally, residual waste wood fibre needs to be burned to reduce wildfire hazard. Since this fibre has low economic value, it is piled and burned. The operational costs of skidding, processing, loading, hauling and increased road maintenance when handling pulp logs are greater than the value of the fibre. Additionally, the Kispiox area has minimal wood processing facilities and a forest dominated by low-value hemlock.

FESBC’s financial support made it economically possible for Craig and her team to use the fibre, instead of burning it.

“The dollars allocated to us as a grant from FESBC provided us with operational certainty,” said Craig. “These dollars allowed us to commit to contracts with loggers and truck drivers, which further stimulated our local economy. Our crew at NorthPac is grateful for the grant and considers the project a great success.”

The FESBC-funded NorthPac project will save approximately 42,000 cubic metres of pulp logs from being burned in the forest. That equates to approximately 1,050 truckloads of fibre not being burned and instead delivered to the point of sale in Kitimat. All West Trading Limited purchased the pulp logs and sent them to coastal pulp mills. The pulp mills are using the fibre to make pulp, paper products and green energy.

Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC operations manager is pleased with the outcomes of the project. He sees it as a team effort of many forest sector professionals.

“The project was delivered by a team of local logging and trucking contractors, and it contributed to the regional economy of northwest British Columbia,” said Pratt. “This is a win-win because it not only creates economic benefits for local communities but global environmental ones as well.”