Today the whole world celebrates Earth Day, a day dedicated to bringing awareness to environmental stewardship. At TimberWest, we can proudly say that every day is Earth Day because environmental stewardship is at the cornerstone of our century old business.
TimberWest is the largest private landowner in Western Canada, and with that privilege comes great responsibility. Our daily operations are focused on sustainable forest management practices from harvest to new growth. This is made possible by the expert staff at TimberWest. Our foresters, biologists, geologists, hydrologists and operations specialists all complement one another in making sure species are managed, planning layouts consider the landscape, critical habitat is preserved, and new forest stands are nurtured for successful growth. Our forest plans adhere to strict government regulations. Beyond that, we also voluntarily commit to a secondary level of scrutiny through third-party certification of our forest lands under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
The SFI program is a rigorous system of environmental and conservation practices for wildlife and water quality protection, biodiversity conservation, sustainable harvesting practices and a wide range of other forest management goals including First Nation engagement. TimberWest led the charge and was the first company in Canada to obtain SFI certification of all our forest lands in the year 2000. The SFI brand is now globally recognized as the largest single forest certification standard in the world with over 110 million hectares certified.
TimberWest is also the proud participant of the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) agreement, and is actively managing 96,000 hectares – or less than 2% – in the southern portion of the GBR where logging history dates back over 120 years, and forest stands consist of primarily second and third generation forests.
The Great Bear Rainforest Order (GBRO) – recently passed into law – is actually an additional suite of legislation added to the existing regulations to which we adhere. The sustainable forest management plans will now integrate an ecosystem based management (EBM) approach. As a result, there will be additional scrutiny of the forest management plans to ensure enhanced protection for biodiversity at both the landscape and the stand level, as well as other objectives that range from watersheds to bear dens to yew trees. The GBRO has also given First Nations more inclusion into the guidance and clarity of forest management plans that meet their interests and concerns. This is something that we feel is a great win for sustainable long term forest management.
TimberWest has led the way in the GBR by voluntarily committing to the new regulations before they were adopted into law, and converted several previously approved sustainable forest management plans into ecosystem reserves to help preserve sensitive ecosystems and to regenerate more contiguous forest areas.
Our commitment to environmental stewardship is unwavering. The importance of managing our forests for today, and for future generations, is at the heart of our business.
Today we want to recognize and thank all of our employees and contractors, First Nation partners, stakeholders groups, community members, resource partners and government officials for working with us to make TimberWest a leader in sustainable forest management. To celebrate Earth Day and our achievements we have donated seedlings to the City of Nanaimo’s Earth Day event with the goal of inspiring the next generation to join a renewable, green, industry that is based on the foundation of sustainable environmental stewardship.
Happy Earth Day, everyone.
President & CEO