Chief Forester’s Perspective: BC Forest Professionals Conference (FPBC 2024)

the BC Forest Professionals conference in Kelowna

Earlier this month, our Chief Forester, Quinton Hayward, attended the BC Forest Professionals conference in Kelowna. Here he shares his perspective on the event:

This year’s theme of “Everything is Connected” was present throughout the conference.  There was meaningful presentations around reintroducing fire as a landscape level management tool, creating more value from the harvested volume, recruitment and retention of professions into the industry, and collaborative planning with Indigenous groups on Forest Landscape Plans. There were also discussions on ecosystems integrity and technology to help evaluate ecosystem integrity into the future, wildfire urban interface and continuing to build resiliency to wildfires and the path ahead for Indigenous relations in the BC forest sector.

There was a strong focus on Indigenous joint-planning management and decision making. It is very clear in the presentations and from the nation members present at the conference, that nothing will happen on the ground in forestry without First Nations being involved. This is consistent with the government’s direction and should not be a surprise or anything new to those working with natural resources.  

At the conference, Minister Ralston spoke to the status of some of the Forest Landscape Plans being developed with First Nations, the government and industry. He openly acknowledged that the pace of change lately has been intense and the impact it has had on the forest sector.  With that, he shared status of the work the Ministry is doing to stabilize the path forward and bring predictability to the sector including the new appointment of Andrew Mercier the Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation.

I was encouraged by the number of younger foresters in the room. It’s nice to see the younger generation getting more involved and learning what is happening in other parts of the province. During the event, I had a great time connecting with people from government, industry, consulting, and academia all focused on learning from each other.