Workshops & Events

National Forest Week: September 20-26, 2015

National Forest Week posterIt’s National Forest Week, September 20-26, 2015 (and National Tree Day on Wednesday,  September 23, 2015) — a chance to celebrate, acknowledge and raise awareness about the significant role forests play in the lives of all Canadians.

What is National Forest Week?

With the goal of increasing public awareness about Canada’s forests, National Forest Week has its early roots in Forest Fire Prevention Week of the 1920’s. At that time, human caused forest fires posed the greatest threat to Canada’s forests. Renamed in 1967, National Forest Week has evolved to encompass the many social, environmental, cultural and economic aspects of Canada’s valuable renewable forest resource—past, present and future.

Throughout the week, businesses, associations, governments and organizations promote special events and activities across the country, but the focus of National Forest Week is still to challenge individual Canadians to learn more about their forest heritage and foster a greater recognition for Canada’s valuable forest resource.

This Year’s Theme is Wildland Fire: You Can Make a Difference!

Each year, National Forest Week focuses on a particular theme that highlights an important aspect of Canada’s forest resource. This year’s timely theme is reminiscent of the early origins of National Forest Week and reminds us that wildland fire is a powerful natural force.

It’s true, fire has shaped Canada’s forests, prairies and parklands for countless generations, and brings healthy renewal to diverse ecosystems; however, as many communities are all too aware, some fires can have a devastating impact on public safety and property.

Looking for ways to get involved?

Submit an entry! The ABCFP National Forest Week Contests include an art contest for kids and a photo contest for ABCFP members.

Submit your best forest selfie for a chance to win the UBC Forest Selfie Contest.

Download a Wildland Fire: You Can Make a Difference poster. Tweet it, post it, pin it, tape it to the office wall, hang it on the fridge, mail it to your grandmother!

Looking for resources to promote you’re own National Forest Week event?

Find out how to register your event on the Canadian Forestry Association website

Download the “Fun in the Forest with Splinter” Colouring Book

Check out the National Forest Week Starter Kit designed to inspire and assist event organizers

How to Manage Douglas-fir Bark Beetle and Root Rot

Woodlot 85

Howie introduces the group to Woodlot 85.

One of the highlights of PFLA’s 2015 Forest Field Tour was a visit to Howie Griessel’s woodlot near Union Bay for an interesting discussion of forest health issues—specifically, managing Douglas-fir bark beetle and root rot problems.

Woodlot 85 was advertised and awarded in 1991. The Crown portion of the woodlot license is 400 hectares. The site we visited on the tour was a top up awarded in 1999.

Identifying the Problem

When Howie took control of the area, they did a forest health survey and found not only a significant root rot problem on the lower sites, but also a significant Douglas-fir bark beetle infestation.

Howie describes, “We knew there was quite a bit of root rot and we wanted to know how much and where to focus our harvesting. What we didn’t realize until we did the health survey was it also had Douglas-fir bark beetle.”

Making a Management Plan

Howie set up a harvest schedule (a fifteen year program) to harvest quite a large swath of the woodlot in a series of parallel entries to address the worst hit areas of root rot and Douglas-fir bark beetles first, and then progress in a harvest pattern and post-harvest treatment designed to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) further beetle problems, as well as manage the root rot problem.

Howie explains, “Part of the planning was definitely driven by the Douglas-fir bark beetle. People from Natural Resources Canada Pacific Forestry Centre Burnside Lab came up and confirmed it was Douglas-fir bark beetle. They said it looked like sleeper cells that had been around for a while and hadn’t expanded.”

Howie didn’t want to take the risk. The population wasn’t exploding, it was kind of bumbling along, but who knows what might trigger a population explosion? So they decided to try and get rid of the bark beetle and developed a plan to aggressively harvest over 100 hectares.

Harvesting the Stand

The stand was 79 years old with different sized trees, but not more than 15 years variation, and the bark beetle was mostly in the dominant trees. Because of saturated soil and blow down problems associated with wind in the area thinning wasn’t an option.

Woodlot 85

Howie illustrates the 3-phaset step stand profile strategy.

The Douglas-fir bark beetles were focused on the root rot centres. Not dead trees, but trees stressed by root rot. Howie explains, “The beetles seemed to know it and they’d get in there. We wanted to wait until the adults had bored in, laid their eggs and then fall the tree, and get it out of there before the larvae pupated and left the tree.”

It was a fairly aggressive pattern. They logged a little over 100 hectares in 10 years. They cut the trees in April and got them out as fast as they could. The plan included a 3-phase cut they fashioned after an approach used in Germany in areas where serious windfall events are a problem.

According to Howie, “The goal is to create a step-stand profile, so we logged a strip (90 meters wide) in phase one, then phase two and then phase three. The theory is that the stepped saw tooth pattern starts to create turbulence with the wind and stops the wind from going as far into the stand.”

Re-planting the Stand

In the area we visited, they planted 1100 stems per hectare, but also got a fair amount of volunteers from seeds. Planting the area followed harvesting fairly tightly. Howie describes, “Sometimes, because of our cut-controls, I’ll log half a block one year and half the next year, but we’re planting it before we log the other half.”

In general, they plant a mix on the woodlot. Howie adds, “It’s anywhere from 15 to 20 percent cedar in our planting bags: always 615 cedars to give it a chance to get going, and 515 Douglas-fir.”

Managing for Root Rot

When Howie felled the area they had the logger mark an X on the root rot stumps with his saw to define the root rot area. Then the excavator operator took the stumps out, as well as anything within 4 or 5 meters of the infected stump area. After that, they were able to plant Douglas-fir in the stumped areas again. They also planted red cedar around the edges in case they didn’t get all the root rot because red cedar is resistant to root rot.

Thanks to Howie for the thoughtful and informative tour. Stay tuned for stop #2 where Howie went above and beyond with a detailed presentation on log prices and getting the best value from your harvest.

Celebrating BC’s Private Forest Stewards

Congratulations to the 2015 Private Forest Stewardship Award recipients.

The 2015 Private Forest Stewardship Awards were presented at PFLA’s annual conference, field tour and AGM in Courtenay, June 3rd and 4th.

The GoudysPFLA founding members, John and Gabrielle Goudy, were presented with a stewardship award for their unwavering support, enthusiasm and dedication to the association and private forestry. Extremely knowledgeable about plants and wildlife, and passionate about their forest, the Goudys epitomize independent forest owners in coastal British Columbia. A big PFLA thanks to John and Gabrielle for all they’ve contributed to PFLA over the past 20 years.

Dave KralRod Bealing also presented TimberWest log buyer, Dave Kral (left), with a stewardship award for his contributions to private forestry over the past 42 years.

That’s right, 42 years. To learn more about Dave Kral’s story, you can read our earlier post 42 Seedlings for 42 Years or check out the video on TimberWest’s YouTube channel.

A big PFLA thanks to Dave Kral for all his hard work.

Howie Griessel One of the highlights of this year’s field tour was a trip to Howie Griessel’s woodlot for an interesting discussion of forest health issues including root rot, Douglas-fir bark beetle, thinning, post-harvest treatments and harvest regeneration sequences.

Howie (right) also went above and beyond the call of tour host duty with his detailed presentation on log prices and getting the best value from your harvest.

Also a founding PFLA member, Rod Bealing took the opportunity to present Howie with a stewardship award for his contributions to the association and his exemplary commitment to forest stewardship. Stay tuned for more on the trip to Woodlot 85.

Sylvan Vale NurseryLast, but definitely not least, twin sisters Iola Elder and Siriol Paquet (photo), of Sylvan Vale Nursery, were presented with a stewardship award for their dedicated support of private forest owners. Established by their parents, in 1980, Sylvan Vale Nursery has grown to an impressive 200,000 square feet of growing space with 46 greenhouses and an expected count of 8 million seedlings this year. A big PFLA thanks to the duo Rod Bealing describes as “twin bundles of awesomeness.”

Each year, PFLA celebrates and acknowledges specific members for their unique contributions to the overall stewardship of B.C.’s private forest lands. The annual Private Forest Stewardship Awards:

  •  Reflect PFLA’s mission to promote responsible forest stewardship on B.C.’s private forest lands
  •  Recognize forest owners and land managers for ensuring environmental stewardship
  •  Generate education and training opportunities for other forest owners and PFLA members

To be eligible for an award you must be a member of the Private Forest Landowners Association. Eligible candidates include landowners as well as the people who work with them and are selected by their peers (also PFLA members).

Nominees must demonstrate:

  • Commitment to long-term forest management
  • Respect for the principles established in the PFLA Best Management Practices and Environmental Policy
  • Awareness of the objectives of the Private Land Forest Practices Regulation
  • Recognition of sound business principles

Managed Forest Council Update for 2015

Rod Davis, Chair of the Managed Forest Council

Rod Davis, Chair of the Managed Forest Council

Thanks to Rod Davis, Chair of the Managed Forest Council, for his presentation at PFLA’s 20th annual conference in Courtenay, June 4th, 2015.

If you weren’t able to attend the conference, you can view the slides from Rod Davis’s presentation below. To enlarge the presentation click on the white box with the arrows in the bottom right corner and then use the arrows in the centre to scroll through the presentation.

The slides include information about:

  • Who council and staff members are
  • List of key management objectives for Managed Forest land
  • Budget trends for the MFC
  • Activities highlights from 2014 for the Managed Forest Program
  • Owner activities (e.g. harvesting and reforestation levels) for 2014
  • Information about operation compliance to the legislative and regulatory requirements
  • Contact information for the MFC

A quick reminder: the Managed Forest Council (MFC) is the independent public regulator of forest practices under the Private Managed Forest Land Act.

The MFC is empowered to make and enforce regulations to encourage sustainable forest management and protect key environmental values on private managed forest land.

As the regulatory body, the MFC can:

  • Assign penalties
  • Make remediation orders
  • Enter into consent agreements
  • Revoke status for landowners
  • Issue stop work orders

The operations of the council are 100% funded by annual fees paid by managed forest owners.

An audit and inspection program is designed to ensure the council has adequate information of landowners’ operational compliance with the forest management requirements.

The Field Practices Guide (available as a pdf document on the MFC website) outlines practices, standards and expectations to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements.

If you have any questions or feedback about the Managed Forest Program, you can reach the MFC by phone at: 250-386-5737 or by email at:

BC Assessment & Managed Forest Land

Tina Ireland photo

Tina Ireland, Director, Property Owners, BC Assessment

A big PFLA thanks to Tina Ireland, Director, Property Owners with BC Assessment for her presentation at the PFLA annual conference, June 4, 2015 in Courtenay, BC.

For those of you who couldn’t join us, you can see Tina’s presentation slides below. To enlarge the presentation click on the white box with the arrows in the bottom right corner and then use the arrows in the centre to scroll through the presentation.

The PowerPoint slides include:

  • a brief history of BC Assessment
  • information about the annual assessment roll
  • key dates for assessment
  • list of property classifications
  • highlights from the 2015 assessment roll
  • facts about managed forest classification
  • information about the managed forest application process
  • details about bare land rate and cut timber rate calculations for managed forest land


Thanks again to Tina Ireland for the presentation. While not included in the slides, the issue of grandfathering was also discussed.

Tina Ireland explained, “When the Act changed in 2004 there was an understanding that any properties that didn’t meet the new qualifications would remain in Managed Forest classification. However, if a property is sold, and the new owner doesn’t meet the new regulations, then they are no longer eligible for Managed Forest classification.”

To date, the practice has been that BC Assessment won’t remove people from Managed Forest classification if the property is being handed down within the family, but this practice is currently under review. Tina is not saying there will be changes, but she’s letting the group know the practice is under review.

Robbie Preston highlighted some concerns for forest owners engaged in estate planning and managing their affairs. He encouraged any clarity BC Assessment can offer on the subject. He also suggested some printed guidelines would go a long way to helping forest owners plan for themselves and their family’s futures.

Tina confirmed the goal of the review process is to provide clarity for both forest owners and BC Assessment. The review is underway now, and answers are expected by fall 2015. Tina emphasized she doesn’t foresee any changes, but if changes arise that significantly effect forest owners there will be a consultation process with the community before any changes are finalized.

If you have any comments or feedback you can reach BC Assessment by phone at:  1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322) Ext. 00225 or by email at:

Congratulations to Island Timberlands on 40 Million Trees!

planting a seedling

HFN chief councillor, Jeff Cook (centre), plants Island Timberlands’ 40 millionth seedling with chief forester, Bill Waugh (left), and president, Darshan Sihota (right).

Students from the Bamfield Community School joined representatives from Huu-ay-aht First Nations, tree planters and forestry professionals to help Island Timberlands plant their 40-millionth seedling.

The April 10th event was organized by Island Timberlands and took place on a cut block approximately 57 kilometres from Port Alberni.

The area is surrounded by Huu-ay-aht Treaty Settlement Land. The Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) is a self-governing, treaty Nation of 750 citizens whose lands are located in the Barclay Sound region on the west coast of Vancouver Island at the entrance to the Port Alberni inlet.

The cut block was originally harvested approximately 65 years ago. Today, tree-planting crews are reforesting the area with mainly cedar trees, along with some Douglas-fir seedlings, while hemlock, a native and prolific seed producing species, will naturally regenerate.

Participating in the official tree planting, elected Chief Councillor Jeff Cook said, “I hope these youth will be able to remember where they were today, so they can come out here and recognize where they planted trees. They will then know that they made a difference today by planting these cedars.”

Island Timberlands replants many more trees than it harvests and their goal is to reforest each area within one year of harvesting.

42 Seedlings for 42 Years: A Tree Planting Story

Log buyer Dave Kral meets with Rod Bealing to discuss bucking specs to ensure the highest value is captured in the log making process. Photo credit: Totangi Properties Ltd.

Log buyer Dave Kral meets with Rod Bealing to discuss bucking specs to ensure the highest value is captured in the log making process. Photo credit: Totangi Properties Ltd.

Not everybody gets the chance to come full circle in your work— to go back where you started and see the difference you made. Dave Kral, a log buyer for TimberWest, got that opportunity earlier this spring when TimberWest began reforestation on a recently harvested block near Sooke, B.C., on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

If you’re a forest owner on the coast of British Columbia, with logs for sale, you probably know Dave Kral. As a log buyer for TimberWest, Dave’s been in the business for a long time. He’s a likeable guy, with a great reputation, and many PFLA members have had the chance to do business with him.

You might be surprised to learn Dave hasn’t always worked in the logs and stumps side of the business. Back in 1973, fresh out of school, Dave got a job with Pacific Forest Products—a former iteration of TimberWest. His first day on the job, Dave helped plant a harvested block near Sooke, B.C.

That’s right. While most of us were watching the Mary Tyler Moore Show, listening to Elton John and Marvin Gaye top the charts with Crocodile Rock and Let’s Get it On, marveling over shrinky dinks and cheering Henri Richard and the Montreal Canadiens to Stanley Cup victory, Dave Kral was an 18-year-old rookie tree planter, jostling along in the backseat of a crummy, headed for the reefer, ready to pound—brown side down, green side up.

planted seedling Forty-two years later, Dave still works with the same company, and he’s come back to help plant the third generation of seedlings to grow on this site.

“Back then we had broadcast burns,” Dave explains looking around. “This would be all gone, no branches, no nothing. Just black soil.”

A lot can change in forty-two years—policies, practices, people—but with the right commitment, passion and continuity, a lot can stay the same too.

Forest owners in BC are legally responsible to reforest all harvested areas. Tree planting takes place twice a year on TimberWest lands with approximately 6 million seedlings planted and 3.6 million harvested. In total, about 12.5 million trees are planted on private forestland in B.C. each year.

TimberWest contracts local nurseries to grow a portion of seedlings and Safe Certified companies for planting. The company’s silviculture program is a valuable contributor to the local economy and is an integral part of sustainable forest management.

five men standing with hard hats and visibility vests

Left to right: Bruce Devitt—Former Chief Forester, Dave Kral—TimberWest Log Buyer, Gary Haut—Former Planting Foreman, Domenico Iannidinardo—TimberWest VP Sustainability & Chief Forester, Peter Bontkes—Planting Foreman

Joined by former chief forester, Bruce Devitt, former planting foreman, Gary Haut, TimberWest chief forester, Domenico Iannidinardo and current planting foreman, Peter Bontkes, Dave was proud to plant 42 seedlings—one for each year he’s worked with TimberWest.

Dave explains, “In my career this is no doubt my proudest moment. There’s nothing to compare to it. Who would have thought I’d be coming back here 42 years later to plant again? It’s great!”

PFLA was honoured and inspired to celebrate this day with Dave Kral and TimberWest. You can watch a video from the event below, or you can watch it on TimberWest’s YouTube channel. You can also read the complete story here. Congratulations Dave!

If you’d like to impress Dave, or dinner party guests, with your knowledge and understanding of tree planting culture, we’ve included some terms below to help expand your vocabulary.

Easy-to-plant land — cream

Difficult-to-plant land — schnarb

Land on which you plant trees — block, piece

Layer of moss and twigs above the soil — duff

Ground left just as it was after it was logged — raw, unscarified

Someone who plants many trees a day — highballer

A first-time planter — rookie

The vehicle that brings you to and from your worksite — crummy

Where you do Number Two in camp — shitter

Painful afflictions of the hand — the claw

Where you store trees during the day — cache

Trees that come encased in dirt, with minimal root exposure — plug

The truck in which trees are stored — reefer

Planting a line away from the existing line of trees — ghost lining

Planting as hard as you can — pounding

The action of kicking away debris to clear the ground — screefing

Hiding or throwing away trees — stash

The terms above are copied from the post Planting Slang published on The Art of Tree Planting: A Pounders Resources website which were borrowed from T. Colin Strong’s paper Reefer, Schnarb and Crummy Drivers: A Treeplanter’s Lexicon.