The province has announced a new forest society which will be supported by $85 million in government funding.

The new Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. will focus its efforts on wildfire risk reduction and concentrate its activities on forest rehabilitation, habitat restoration, awareness programs, as well as risk reduction. The work of the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. will help meet the goal of a sustainable and reliable timber supply under the Forest Sector Competitiveness Strategy and aligns with the ministry’s other programs designed to enhance B.C.’s forests, most notably Forests for Tomorrow, Land Based Investment Strategy and integrated silviculture strategies.

The society will conduct fuel management activities such as thinning, pruning, and removing woody debris from forests, especially those impacted by the mountain pine beetle infestation. It will also clear stands damaged by wildfire, design fuel management and forest rehabilitation activities, and work with rural property owners to raise awareness about steps they can take to protect their homes from wildfires.

The inaugural board meeting of the society will take place in March and short term priorities and goals will be set.

The inaugural Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.’s board of directors consists of:

Wayne Clogg – Clogg graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry in 1977. He worked with West Fraser from 1980 to 2012 as a field forester, woodlands manager and general manager. Since his retirement as senior vice-president of woodlands in 2012, he has been working as a consultant.

Derek Orr – Orr graduated from the business management program at the College of New Caledonia and is a certified life skills coach trainer. Chief of the McLeod Lake Indian Band, he also serves on the boards of Duz Cho Logging, Duz Cho Construction, Summit Pipeline Services, McLeod Lake Indian Band Exploration Corporation and the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council.

Jim Snetsinger – Snetsinger graduated from the University of Toronto in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry, moved to British Columbia and started working for the B.C. government in 1986. He worked in a variety of positions before being appointed the province’s chief forester in 2004. Since his retirement from that position in 2012, he has been working as a forestry consultant.

Dave Peterson – Peterson graduated from the University of Victoria with a bachelor of science degree in physical geography – Natural Resource Management in 1980 and became a registered professional forester in 1985. He worked with the Ministry of Forests until 1995, when he moved into the private sector. He returned to the ministry in 2005 and has served in a number of assistant deputy minister positions. He is currently the assistant deputy minister for the Tenures, Competitiveness and Innovation Division.

Robert Turner – Turner graduated from the University of Guelph with a Master of Arts degree in international development studies. He has over 20 years of international experience in humanitarian and disaster response operations, including large-scale program management in natural disaster, conflict and post-conflict environments. Prior to joining the ministry in 2015, he served as the director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip. He is currently the assistant deputy minister of the Integrated Resource Operations Division.