PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. â€” British Columbia is spending $150 million to plant tens of millions of trees, which it says will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural parts of the province.
Premier Christy Clark says the funding will go to the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. to advance environmental stewardship and focus on reforestation initiatives throughout the province.
She says the new trees are one plank in the province’s plan to fight climate change and over the next 10 years her government will invest $800 million in B.C.’s forests and create 20,000 jobs.
Clark says her government will also seek innovative ideas to help it meet its climate goals, but the most basic solution is Mother Nature’s solution, which is sequestering carbon in forests.
The province’s Climate Action Plan drew criticism from environmentalists last year who said planting trees would not pay off for decades, as forests need to be mature in order to capture significant amounts of carbon.
The Forest Enhancement Society is an arms-length organization created by the B.C. government that supports projects that aim to mitigate wildfires and rehabilitate damaged or low value forests.
Clark says the province is also working to open up new markets for B.C. lumber in China and India, which she says will help insulate the province from events like a softwood lumber dispute with the U.S.
She says currently high value lumber goes to the U.S. and low value lumber goes to Asia, but she wants more valuable wood going to India and China as well as to increase the overall amount shipped to those countries.
“What I’d like to see in the long term is … British Columbia’s market to be so diverse that the softwood lumber agreement is a great thing to have, but it’s not the most important thing in the world anymore.”
The Canadian Press