2022 02 01 | Host: Colin Heggie | Dr Marie Vance, RPF - Kalamalka Forestry Centre
Feb 1, 2022
Colin hosted Dr Marie Vance, RPF, a 2004 outgoing RYES, who is now a research scientist at the Kalamalka Forestry Centre. She addressed our BC Forestry landscape, explaining we have about 60m hectares (ha), or 148m acres of forested land, of which 22m ha is in our timber harvesting land base. From this, our annual harvest is about 190k, or less than 1%. Challenges in the forest industry include managing for multiple societal values (wildlife, old growth & recreation), title & tenure (loggers get a maximum of 20 to 25 years of tenure, whereas the life cycle of trees is 80 to 120 years), indigenous history (unresolved &/or competing claims for title), & climate change. Marie’s work is mostly about addressing climate change. The 1999 to 2015 Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak resulted in the loss of about 58% of our saleable pine. Meanwhile, the worst years for losses to wildfire were 2017 (1.22m ha), 2018 (1.35m ha) & 2021 (868k ha). These are two examples of the huge impact climate change is having on our forests. (Note that wildfire losses are significantly more than our annual harvests!) The Forest Improvement and Research Management Branch includes forest genetics, seed production, the Tree Seed Centre, & seed policy – all aimed at providing the best possible resources for replenishing our forests in a sustainable manner. Forest genetics research at the Kalamalka Forestry Centre is intended to promote genetic conservation, seed transfer & tree improvements. They study growth versus genetic diversity, whilst breeding for disease resistance. There’s an expectation that as our climate warms, species now prevalent in southern regions will gradually move north. The question is how do we best adapt to these changes, & what can we do to enhance the transition. Marie said 2021 was the first year she heard the terms “heat dome” and “atmospheric river,” just like the rest of us. She & her Kalamalka Forestry colleagues hope to be more proactive, & less reactionary, when it comes to forest adaption.