2014 Private Forestry Recognition Award

Rod Bealing and Dave Lindsay

Rod Bealing presents Dave Lindsay with the PFLA Stewardship Award and coveted PFLA pen set at the 2014 banquet.

Here at the PFLA, we’re fortunate to work with a range of impressive people passionate about the sustainable management of B.C.’s private forests.

At our recent AGM in June, we couldn’t help but recognize one such individual—Dave Lindsay, fish and wildlife biologist with TimberWest, received the PFLA Stewardship Award for his contribution and dedication to protecting wildlife and managing habitat on private forest land.

With a deep knowledge and understanding, infectious passion for fish and wildlife, and priceless wisdom gained from decades of practical experience observing what nature needs, what works and what doesn’t when it comes to managing wildlife habitat, we are lucky to call Dave a valuable supporter of PFLA and our programs.

Dave was involved with the development of our best management practices (BMP) program, and as a regular participant and contributor to forest field tours and training workshops, he not only helps forest owners, forestry professionals and loggers to understand the habitat needs of various species, but he also helps government representatives to see the processes, practices, approaches and commitments that go into managing habitats — streams, birds, creatures — on private land.

In a burst of poetic prose, Rod Bealing described Dave Lindsay as, “at times, the thin red line standing between responsible forest stewardship and the tyranny of unnecessary regulation.” A huge PFLA thanks and buckets of appreciation to Dave for all his hard work and contributions over the years.

Update: Critical Wildlife Habitat MOU

northern goshawk chicks in a nest

Northern goshawk chicks in a second growth forest on private land near Comox Lake. Photo credit: Grant Eldridge

It’s been a little over a year since PFLA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment regarding critical wildlife habitat.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is an agreement that reinforces working relationships and helps establish a framework for information sharing, cooperation and collaboration in matters of mutual interest.

This particular MOU reflects a commitment on behalf of all parties to promote a “made-in-BC” approach to the protection and management of critical wildlife habitat on private managed forest land. More specifically, the MOU sets out to:

  • Increase certainty on regulatory and management requirements for critical wildlife habitat on private managed forest lands
  • Foster innovation
  • Improve information sharing
  • Promote the rigour of BC’s approach to protecting and managing critical wildlife habitat to federal government agencies

Why the MOU is important to forest owners

Increasingly, public demand places pressure on government to demonstrate appropriate steps are being taken to protect endangered species. In the context of an evolving sphere of species at risk protection, the province maintains management of critical wildlife habitat as a provincial priority.

PFLA realizes the necessity of improving awareness, at both the federal and provincial levels, of the contributions landowners already make to critical wildlife habitat. Equally important, is the need to ensure appropriate distinction is made between Crown land and private land.

Rod Bealing explains, “It’s about telling the story of what’s already happening on private land rather than coming up with an idea about how to fix a problem.”

Critical Wildlife Habitat and the PMFL Act

The critical wildlife habitat provisions of the Private Managed Forest Land Act and the Private Managed Forest Land Regulation reflect a commitment forest owners made to work with government; to enter into agreements for the protection of critical wildlife habitat on private managed forest land if necessary.

The policy intent in British Columbia is a two-step process:

  1. If a species is deemed threatened or endangered there is a structure in place that compels the Crown to look for critical wildlife habitat on Crown land first.
  2. If it’s determined the only land available for the survival of that species is on private land, then the Crown has a duty to reach an agreement with the landowner that provides some measure of compensation for any land use interruption, modified practices or deferred harvesting.

A Positive Step for Forest Owners 

To date, the MOU process and associated working group is a productive, engaging and positive experience for forest owners. Landowners are working with government in an ongoing, healthy dialogue about what’s best for the creatures, how to meet their habit needs and how to balance the needs of the creatures with the needs of forest owners, the province and communities.

Opportunities for Improvement

In terms of tangible outcomes, we hope to identify opportunities for improvement at the landscape level with increased cooperation and information sharing between owners, as well as between owners and government. We also hope to identify practices to improve habitat value at the stand level—practical measures to help raise awareness about these creatures and their habitat needs.

Please contact us with any questions, concerns or feedback.

Private Land Deal Makes Quadra Island Park Possible

group photo in the foyer of the legislature building in Victoria for announcement of Quadra Island park

It was a good day for BC Parks. In fact, it was a good day for all British Columbians as a crowd gathered in the foyer of the legislature building to hear Mary Polak, Minister of Environment, and Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, announce the Province’s acquisition of nearly 400 hectares of private land on Quadra Island.

Acquiring three parcels of private land from Merrill & Ring Forestry L.P. enables BC Parks to link Small Inlet Marine and Octopus Islands Marine provincial parks together. The benefits include:

  • Increase Quadra Island’s designated protected area
  • Preserve habitat for a host of marine life including salmon, harbour seals, porpoises and octopi
  • Improve access for recreational opportunities
  • Protect important archeological sites

The event was imbued with a celebratory spirit and genuine appreciation for the commitment, perseverance and cooperation exhibited by forest companies, government officials, ministry staff and community members who worked diligently over decades to make this contribution to the BC parks system possible.

Minister Thomson explained, “This land exchange with Merrill & Ring is enabling the Province to acquire private land on Quadra Island, which has been of particular interest to add to B.C.’s protected areas system for some time. This is a time to celebrate the dedication and hard work of all those who have made this possible.”

Minister Thomson also acknowledged TimberWest for the important partnership roll they played in helping to make the land acquisition possible by donating a portion of Tree Farm License 47.

Quadra Island map

Map shows the area of the recently acquired 395 hectares, as well as the existing Small Inlet Marine and Octopus Islands Marine provincial parks on Quadra Island.

Norm Schaaf, vice president, Timberlands and Administration, Merrill & Ring, told the crowd the company has been involved with forest land on Quadra Island for well over 100 years. In fact, it was one of their company’s founders, Thomas Merrill, who signed the crown grant for the property back in 1885.

Norm explained it was about 20 years ago when the province first expressed an interest in acquiring the property to add to B.C.’s protected areas system. “It’s been a long, sometimes bumpy road, with many interesting twists and turns. Merrill & Ring is pleased to see this land sale and park dedication come to a conclusion. We appreciate the diligence and many-year efforts of the ministry staff to obtain the resources necessary to acquire this property.”

Spokespeople from the BC Marine Parks Forever Society and the Quadra Island Conservancy and Stewardship Society and Save the Heart of Quadra Parks were also present to express their excitement about the completion of the northern parks on Quadra Island, as well as to express their appreciation for all the community members whose support and collective effort helped make their contributions possible.

You can find more details about the park and land acquisition on the British Columbia Newsroom website: Community efforts celebrated in Quadra Island land deal.

You can see video footage from the announcement on the BCL Rewind YouTube channel or click on the image below (the Quadra Island story starts at the 1:18 minute mark).


*Photos courtesy of BC gov photos on Flickr (

PFLA’s 2013 Recognition Awards

If you’re passionate about your work, you’re almost never in it for the recognition. Here at the PFLA we’re lucky to work with talented and impressive people who are passionate about the contributions they make to the sustainable management of B.C.’s private forests. Sure, they’re not in it for the recognition, but nonetheless, they deserve it.

Unable to resist such a handy feedback mechanism for letting people know their work is noticed and appreciated, PFLA took the opportunity to acknowledge four noteworthy individuals, at our recent AGM in June, for their tenacious contributions to private forestry.

Rod Bealng presents Richard Ringma with a recognition award from PFLARod Bealing presented Richard Ringma with the coveted PFLA cutting board as a modest gesture of our appreciation. With almost 40 years experience in coastal B.C. log sales and distribution, Richard brings energy, enthusiasm and determination to PFLA’s market access efforts. His exceptionally helpful analysis of the fibre supply and fibre demand situation on the B.C. coast is valuable information we use to educate key audiences and help dispel some of the myths and rhetoric that surround log exports. PFLA is very lucky to know Richard and we appreciate all his energy and hard work.

PFLA supporting member Steve Lackey also received the coveted PFLA cutting board in recognition of his ongoing support of private forestry in B.C. Rod Bealing presents Steve Lackey with a recognition award from PFLASteve is well known by forest owners, and the coastal forest industry, through his involvement with safety audits and forest practices inspections. With over three decades of practical forest stewardship experience, and a strong talent for reforestation and community relations, Steve is a highly respected member of B.C.’s private forestry community. A former TimberWest employee, Steve’s been involved with PFLA since its inception in 1995, and a workshop regular for as long as we can remember. Big thanks to Steve for organizing PFLA’s 2013 forestry field tour—very much appreciated by all involved. Thanks Steve!

PFLA was also pleased to present Island Timberlands’ employees Morgan Kennah (Manager, Sustainable Timberlands and Community Affairs) and Kraig Urbanoski (Area Planner) with a recognition award for their creative, consistent and persistent community relation efforts in the urban interface. Along with the coveted PFLA cutting board, Morgan and Kraig were presented with the less-conventional, light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek tac vest award loaded with tools and resources to support their work.

The vest includes:

Binoculars—to help scan ahead and locate any ambushes on the horizon.

Compass—to help the wearer stick to the right path and find the high road.

Flashlight and cardboard tube—visual prop to remind the wearer there is light at the end of the tunnel (hopefully not from an oncoming train).

Rake—used to dig through the manure and get to the truth.

Safety whistle—to call for back-up as needed.

Magnifying glass—to assist in the quest to find ethics in journalism.

Re-purposed plastic PFLA Valentine’s heart—to remind the wearer: when it feels like nobody loves you, PFLA sure as heck does.

Cowboy hat—disguise to help the wearer blend in with farmers because they harvest their land several times each year and nobody seems to notice.

Private Managed Forest Stewardship Award—Nominees Wanted!

Each year PFLA recognizes a managed forest owner for outstanding commitment to, and demonstration of, private forest stewardship in British Columbia. The award acknowledges, and celebrates, the exemplary contributions that individual forest owners make to overall forest stewardship excellence in the province. It’s an opportunity to shake hands with, and tip our hats to, the folks who spend their days making the decisions, implementing the practices, managing the land and growing the trees that make the Managed Forest Program a success.

Calling all nominations!

This year’s recipient will be presented with the prestigious award at the PFLA 2013 private forestry forum and AGM (June 19-20, 2013 in stunning Nanaimo, B.C. — details).

Last year, PFLA executive director, Rod Bealing, was delighted to present two managed forest champions, Dave Barker (above) and Domenico Iannidinardo (below), with a small token of our appreciation for the contributions they continue to make to private forestry in B.C.

Please submit nominations for the 2013 Private Forest Stewardship Award, via email, to Include the name of your nominee, and a brief description illustrating why they make an excellent candidate for the Private Forest Stewardship Award.

Deadline for applications is June 1st, 2013.

The short video below shows octogenarian and 2011 award recipient, Ken Robertson, at work in his managed forest (Van Isle Forest) near Victoria, B.C.

Thanks for the Lift!—Trees (millions of ‘em) at Arbutus Grove Nursery

Everything starts somewhere—ideas, automobiles, toaster ovens, plaid pants, even trees. All of the trees planted here on the coast of British Columbia owe their start to the skill, care, expertise and dedication of nursery workers.

Arbutus Grove Nursery, Pacific Regeneration Technologies (PRT) and Sylvan Vale Nursery, all provide great products and service, but in mid-December, PFLA needed trees in a hurry (the Santa Clause parade!) so we swung by our closest source, Arbutus Grove Nursery, to pick up some seedlings (a big hit by the way).

Coastal-Douglas fir tree seedlings

Impressed by the hustle and bustle of the winter lift, we couldn’t resist inviting ourselves back again for a closer look (armed with digital cameras and hand-held video devices).

Thanks to Nathaniel Stoffeslma for taking the time to tour us around their North Saanich nursery. Arbutus Grove is a family-owned and operated business established in 1981 when Nathaniel’s father planted their first crop of trees in a lone half-greenhouse. Today, the nursery boasts seven guttered-greenhouses, of various sizes, and a reputation for growing Coastal Douglas-fir well—“It’s a difficult species to grow, but we do a pretty good job at it.”

When the forest industry is healthy, business is healthy.

Over the years, Arbutus Grove Nursery has adapted and persevered to survive uncertain economic times in the coastal forest industry. During the recession in 2008, business plummeted — they saw 60% of a standard normal year. Thankfully, they were able to recover. Other nurseries in B.C. weren’t so lucky.

Holding a Coastal Douglas-fir seedling

Along with shifts in capacity, they’ve noticed a significant change in expectation, “30 years ago foresters expected 50% of trees to succeed in the field.” Today, customers at Arbutus Grove Nursery expect much more from their trees. Nathaniel estimates their trees have a growing success rate of close to 95%.

A common misconception about Arbutus Grove Nursery is the perception that they grow trees for ornamental use. Nathaniel explains, “People don’t understand how thorough the reforestation industry is—probably 35 million trees are planted, every year, here on the coast. Across B.C., it’s probably closer to 200 million trees, every year. That’s 100,000 times more trees planted each year than the ornamental tree industry.”

The planting cycle

As a contract grower, customers provide the seeds (generally) and Arbutus Grove Nursery grows the seedlings to the customers’ specifications. Coastal-Douglas fir is the most popular species they grow, but they also grow other coastal species like Western redcedar.

Orders are placed in September, October and November and seeds are stratified and prepared for sowing in February, March and April to coincide with the summer/fall planting season and the spring planting season.

Working in the lifting shed at Arbutus Grove Nursery

The winter lift is the busiest time of year at Arbutus Grove Nursery. Seedlings are lifted, in December and January, when they’re at their ideal condition for planting and then preserved in cold storage until the spring planting season begins. To accomplish this, they employ about 70 people, on two shifts, from 7 a.m. until midnight.

Working in the lifting shed at Arbutus Grove Nursery

The lifting shed is the epicenter of this bustling operation. Millions (yes, millions) of seedlings, transferred from trays, travel along conveyor belts to be checked for quality, wrapped in packs of five or ten, packed into boxes and stacked onto pallets before being transported to cold storage where their perfect condition is preserved until the planting season begins.

Boxes of tree seedlings headed for cold storage

This year, Arbutus Grove Nursery will produce about 50,000 boxes of seedlings, that’s approximately 12 million trees. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60 to 70 percent of those seedlings will be planted on private forest land.

Thanks again to Nathaniel, and the staff at Arbutus Grove Nursery, for showing us around. Check out the video above to see for yourself, or browse through the photo album on our Facebook page.

Water, Harvesting and Reforestation on Private Forest Land (video)

Earlier this year, PFLA had the opportunity to join some of our larger forest owners on a tour as they showed the Private Managed Forest Land Council around their Shawnigan and Koksilah operating areas (on southern Vancouver Island) for a firsthand look at how they steward their land. For those of you who couldn’t join us, we edited together some video footage for your viewing pleasure.