Forestry vs. Hockey Management

On a day when the NHL’s Canucks introduced their new manager to the media, one lumber trader’s meeting with Jim Snetsinger, who is leading the provincial Area Based Forest Tenure Consultation process, created considerably less buzz in downtown Vancouver this morning. Even so, my session with the former chief forester of B.C. (and attending representatives from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource operations: Doug Stewart, Director of Forest Tenures Branch, and Allan Johnsrude, District Manager, Chilliwack) was enlightening.

As a blogger keenly interested in forest stewardship, I wanted to learn as much as possible about the proposed conversion of some volume-based forest licenses to new or expanded area-based tree farm licences. The government engagement site tells us that “volume-based tenures typically allow multiple tenure holders to harvest in the same timber supply area. Area-based tenures, with some exceptions, limit timber rights to one tenure holder operating in a designated area.”

Snetsinger indicated that the stakeholder meetings to date have offered a diversity of opinions. Interestingly, he noted that in-person meetings have been generally more positive toward the proposed conversion, in contrast with many of the negative comments posted at the engagement website. I wondered how those contrasting views might play out when Snetsinger’s report and recommendations are presented to the Minister of Forests at the end of June. Snetsinger didn’t share the view, as some have reported, that the Special Committee on Timber Supply’s recommendations surrounding forest tenure issues were being misrepresented. In his view, the committee’s recommendations were “carefully worded to ensure that everyone agreed”. He suggested the conversion would mitigate timber supply as a result of the Mountain Pine Beetle.

In the face of reportedly negative response to the proposed conversion (Canfor CEO Don Kane has called it a “deal breaker”) it’s been suggested that preserving, protecting, and enhancing public perception of B.C.’s sustainably managed forests should be a priority. In response to a suggestion that it would appear Snetsinger’s group would be recommending proposed conversion to area-based tenures, B.C.’s former chief forester stated that drawing such conclusion at this time was “premature”.

About the same time as I was digesting views from my meeting with the forestry management gentlemen, Vancouver Canucks’ new general manager Jim Benning was sharing his opinion that any conclusions forecasting a Stanley Cup for next year were “premature”. We’ll stay tuned.

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