Conserving Forest Values: Biodiversity & Conservation
Interfor is a leader in sustainable forestry, managing forest resources in a manner that is environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.
Interfor manages nearly 2.4 million hectares of forests on public lands in BC which is 100% covered under forest stewardship plans that achieve government objectives for soils, timber, wildlife, water, fish, biodiversity, visuals and culturally important areas. The independent Forest Practices Board audits forest and range practices on public lands in BC to ensure they are consistent with these objectives. We consult with the public and stakeholders before harvesting begins and address public input and concerns in our planning.
Professional foresters and forest technologists working for Interfor are registered and regulated by the Association of BC Forest Professionals. When appropriate, we engage other qualified persons with expertise such as professional engineers and geoscientists, hydrologists, biologists and archaeologists.
We play a leading role in managing and protecting forests of high conservation value—we are founding member of the historic land use process in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest. Our SFI certification requires us to protect Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value as well as old-growth forests.
One hundred per cent of our BC woodlands operations are third-party certified to the globally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard. Interfor mills in BC and the US South are certified to the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard.
Through our Chain of Custody Policy Statement on Wood Fiber Procurement, we are committed to avoiding trading wood or wood fiber from controversial sources such as illegal harvesting, conversion of primary forests to non-forest use, and from genetically modified sources. Our BC sawmills are certified under both SFI and PEFC Chain of Custody Standards and our Wood Purchasing Guide encourages our customers to choose products from sustainably managed forests.
We use state logger training or equivalent programs in the US to ensure our procurement suppliers are trained in the SFI standard and at least one supervisor at each logging site is a Qualified Logging Professional, which means they are accredited or trained through an SFI-recognized program.
We minimize chemical use, only using them where required to achieve reforestation objectives while protecting people, wildlife and the environment. We prohibit the use of WHO type 1A and 1B pesticides, and where practicable we avoid the use of all other pesticides and herbicides.
2018 Achievements and Actions
- In BC, we planted approximately 9.8 million seedlings in 2018—three for every tree we harvested.
- Interfor staff attended a course on soil bioengineering to better understand factors and techniques to successfully carry out, maintain and monitor slope stabilization projects using live vegetative materials.
- Interfor staff helped produce an identification/training manual to help other forest professionals identify rare ecosystems and forests of significant conservation value.
- 36 Interfor staff completed species at risk (SARA) identification training, and our logger training includes species at risk and the BC Report-a-Weed smartphone app. On BC’s Pacific coast, we continued to help the First Nation, environmental organizations and the Canadian government restore fish habitat on the Effingham River.
- While the 2018 fire season was worse than 2017 in the BC Interior, all major fires within our operations were either lightning caused or non-industrial human caused, indicating good awareness, preparation and preventive measures (including shutdown) to avoid industrial fires despite the extreme hazard conditions.
- Interfor staff participated in the 2018 BC Caribou Forestry Working Group. This year, the group developed the Beneficial Management and Standard Working Practices for Woodland Caribou and Forest Management Compendium which offers new tools for determining what is critical caribou habitat and considering harvesting in areas that have lower habitat capability and suitability.
- Interfor staff participated in the Forest Collaboratives for Deschutes, Mount Hood, and Olympic National Forests. We worked together with environmental organizations and government on stewardship and forest health issues. One example of the work done in 2018 is the Olympic Forest Collaborative funding the replacement of a large failing culvert on Vance Creek in the Skokomish Watershed to restore fish passage.
- Interfor financially supported the Georgia Tree Farm Program to promote sustainable forest management to non-industrial landowners in areas where we purchase logs.
- SFI surveillance audits for Interfor’s BC Coastal and Interior woodlands operations cited good practices such as:
- Using E.M.S.’s Harvestline and tether systems to increase operator safety and harvest innovatively on steep slopes to allow the retention of trees rather than a full clearcut.
- Producing thorough and well documented block site plans and supporting assessments (such as archaeological, terrain stability, visual impact, etc.) to manage areas with multiple values and constraints through the planning, road construction and harvesting processes.
- Timely reforestation, within one year of completion of harvest, with a good mix of preferred and acceptable tree species.
- We work with First Nations, government officials, industry partners and stakeholders to implement the new forestry approaches of the Great Bear Rainforest Order (GBRO). Key initiatives included:
- Hosting training for identification of rare Blue and Red Listed ecosystems—31 registered forest professionals attended, 12 were Interfor employees.
- Using LiDAR data to develop a tree height model to comply with the GBRO Riparian Objectives that state harvesting must take place one-and-a-half tree lengths away from high value fish habitat boundaries.
- Providing professional guidance on interpreting and implementing the environmental standards in the GBRO as guidance documents are published.
- Seeking—on a continuous basis—input from First Nations, the public and other organizations on the landscape reserve designs, compiling the information and adjusting plans accordingly.
- Partnering with the provincial government to support Western Red Cedar trials and genomic studies regarding browse resistant traits.
Compliance Reference List
- SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard
- Legal and regulatory compliance Objective 9
- Protect threatened and endangered species, old growth management areas, Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value Performance Measure 4.2
- Protection and maintenance of water resources based on best management practices Objective 3
- Promptly replant or regenerate all harvested areas Performance Measure 2.1
- Minimize chemical use Performance Measure 2.2
- Appropriate training of personnel and contractors Performance Measure 11.1
- Broaden awareness of impacts of climate change Performance Measure 10.3
- Western Canada SFI Implementation Committee
- Georgia SFI Implementation Committee
- SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard
- SFI 2015-2019 Chain-of-Custody Standard
- Interfor’s FSC wood procurement policy statement
- Interfor Wood Purchasing Guide
- BC Forest and Range Practices Act
- Forest Planning and Practices Regulation
- Forest Stewardship Plans
- Managing Resource Values under FRPA
- Section 29 Free growing stands
- BC Old Growth Management Areas
- BC Compliance and Enforcement Program
- BC Forest Act
- BC Environmental Management Act
- BC Wildlife Act
- BC Integrated Pest Management Act
- Canada Federal Migratory Bird Convention Act
- BC Forest Practices Board
- Association of BC Forest Professionals
- Foresters Act
- Code of Ethics
- Professional Reliance
- Species at risk regulations include:
- United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
- Canada Species at Risk Act
- BC Species & Ecosystems at Risk
- US Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species
Benefits of Third-Party Certification
Certification is a market-based, non-regulatory forest conservation tool designed to recognize and promote environmentally responsible forestry and sustainability of forest resources. Currently there are more than 50 forest certification standards worldwide, reflecting the diversity of forest types, ecosystems and tenures. There are subtle differences but most promote sustainable forest management through principles, criteria and objectives consistent with local government processes and public expectations.
Like other credible forest certification programs, the SFI standard promotes principles, criteria and objectives that are viewed around the world as the basis of sustainable forest management. It has balanced governance, with a board that represents environmental, social and economic interests, and it revises its standard regularly through an open public process.
Promoting Continuous Improvement
Interfor has a culture of continuous improvement.
Through third-party SFI certification, we address non-conformities and act on opportunities for improvement identified in the annual audit reports.
The 2018 audits for both BC Coastal and Interior woodlands found we had addressed all non-conformities from previous audits, and identified one new minor non-conformance related to protecting water resources in the BC Interior.
The reports, available on our website, also listed opportunities for improvement. For BC Interior woodlands, these included ensuring environmental incidents are investigated and acted on, considering the risk the fibre sourcing program may have on migratory birds, and including site specific risk factors in fibre sourcing risk assessments. On the coast, there was an opportunity for improvement related to the conformance of spill response equipment.
Since the audits were completed, Interfor has developed corrective action plans. Auditors will conduct follow-up assessments in 2019.