Skeena Sawmills Woodlands Group has received approximately $360,000 of funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC to undertake a commercial thinning project in the Kitimat Valley aimed at improving poor forest conditions, with harvested fibre going to Skeena Bioenergy for processing.

In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, there was extensive forest harvesting in the Kitimat Valley, with many areas left to naturally regenerate without any silviculture intervention. The result is that many areas are overstocked with poor stand structure, creating low tree growth and poor habitat conditions for wildlife. Thinning would greatly improve the conditions of these stands, but is a costly undertaking with the resulting harvested volume not suitable for lumber production.

Skeena Bioenergy’s new pellet plant provides a potential economic outlet for this fibre, and this project will investigate the economics of processing this fibre into pellets at our facility. The project received funding from the Forest Enhancement Society because of the key environmental benefits we aim to deliver, namely:

• utilizing fibre from low value forests that would otherwise go to waste,

• reducing wildfire risk by lowering stand density and removing the potential fuel,

• improving low value forests by reducing competition from smaller stems and leaving the larger stems to put on more girth and height,

• improving habitat for wildlife by opening up the stands for easier movements and promoting the growth of shrubs and herbaceous plants thereby providing browse for wildlife,

• creating a green energy product (pellets) to displace use of non-renewable products like coal.

This collaborative project showcases the opportunities for Skeena’s business to grow and deliver benefits to both the economy and the environment through responsible stewardship, innovation and the creation of quality products for global markets.