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COLUMN: Forest Ink

Key posts filled, professionals have their work cut out for them
Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer. (Black Press Media image)

The latest BC Community Forest Association newsletter had news about some interesting projects that have taken place as well as announcements about two people that have moved into important positions in the forest sector.

The first example is about a local placement at the Esket Community Forest where Francis Johnson assumed the Forest Manager position at Alkali Resource Management (ARM).

His duties will centre on providing numerous forest management services, such as timber development, road construction, wildland fire suppression, and more.

For the last couple of years, Francis has worked with FESBC on behalf of ARM in Alkali Lake. The projects focused on forest carbon efforts through forest harvesting activities undertaken by the First Nation, wildfire risk reduction treatments adjacent to communities, and habitat improvement in the Esk’etemc community forest and First Nation Woodland License.

Johnson completed his Bachelor of Natural Resource Management in Kamloops at Thompson Rivers University, which allowed him to write the policy exam for him to earn his Registered Professional Forestry (RPF) designation.

Since the establishment of the community forest in 2002 this position has been filled by RPFs outside of the community since there were no qualified local people.

One of the goals of ARM was to employ as many qualified locals as possible so it is nice to see a key management position filled with someone with Mr. Johnson’s knowledge and experience. As described in the newsletter, he saw the community forest and their management decisions were based on community values and hoped that one day there was an opportunity that he could work there. He also likes to encourage people to consider careers in the forestry industry which has several areas of expertise, so there is work that suits different personality types and skill sets.

Read More: FOREST INK: Company invests $10M in biochar

A second notable announcement was the appointment of a new Chief Forester. Shane Berg has been named British Columbia’s 18th chief forester and the assistant deputy minister for the Office of Chief Forester. This is following Berg’s service as deputy chief forester for the previous five years.

As described in the newsletter “the chief forester is an independent statutory decision-maker, responsible under the Forest Act for determining the allowable annual cut for each of B.C.’s 71 timber supply areas and tree farm licences.

Under the Forest and Range Practices Act, the chief forester also sets seed, seedling and stocking standards for the reforestation of B.C.’s forests.”

Mr. Berg is a registered professional forester who has worked throughout the province, beginning as a silviculture technician in Invermere.

He then worked as a silviculture forester in Grand Forks and a forest planning manager in Squamish and later held district manager roles over 14 years with the BC Forest Service, both in northern B.C. (Hazelton) and the southern Interior (Kamloops).

His experience in Victoria included six years working as a regional executive director with the then-Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation before becoming the Province’s deputy chief forester in April 2017.

He will certainly have his work cut out for him as he deals with some major adjustments in key TSAs due to ongoing forest pest issues as well as the aftermath of the massive wildfires starting in 2017.

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