Good environmental stewardship is an integral part of doing business in the forest products industry. Major environmental considerations are associated with each of the company's business elements.

Canfor is a company that is committed to excellence in environmental performance across the company. New technologies, well-trained employees, and third party auditing of operations are all part of a comprehensive and effective environment program.

Canfor remains dedicated to its tradition of being leaders in environmental stewardship, in good markets and downswings, and regard it as one of our many business strengths.

Biological Diversity

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the full range of living organisms, in all their forms and levels of organization, and includes the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems, and the evolutionary and functional processes that link them.

The BC Forest Practices Code acknowledges the importance of conserving biodiversity, and a supporting guidebook has been released that addresses stand- and landscape-level biodiversity management in a variety of ecological units found within the province.

Management of biological diversity is currently focusing on stand-level management. A major consideration in managing for biodiversity at the stand level is the retention of wildlife tree patches.

At the landscape level, ecosystem diversity is conserved if the variety and landscape-level patterns of communities and ecosystems that naturally occur on the landscape unit are maintained through time.

Following the completion of a comprehensive ecosystem mapping exercise, landscape unit boundaries are established, biodiversity emphasis options are developed and landscape level biodiversity objectives are determined.

Forest management objectives are then developed to ensure that the same forest type percentages will exist on the land base over time. Individual stands may shift from one forest type to another for specific management objectives but the overall forest type percentages will be within the acceptable variance for the land base.

Where applicable, on some landscape units, these objectives may include leaving sufficient and appropriately located mature and old-growth forests for species dependent on, or strongly associated with, "old" seral stage forests.

The "old" seral stage constraints are then factored into the timber supply analysis and proposed forest development plans are analyzed to ensure that operations do not compromise these "old" seral stage targets.

Alternative silviculture systems may be used to sustain seral stage targets.


Stream Inventories

Since 1995, CFP has conducted extensive fish and fish habitat inventories across BC and Alberta. This information is collected by the company and, in some cases, First Nations, the Ministry of Environment and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Where such field data are lacking, a sampling strategy is developed based on the BC Resource Inventory Committee's Reconnaissance Fish and Fish Habitat Inventory guidelines.

The first step towards a comprehensive steam inventory is the completion of a predictive spatial analysis of all the known streams within a specified forest area. Using a geographic information system (GIS) and a terrain mapping application, we determine individual stream reach breaks based on gradient and stream width.

Identified streams which have a gradient of less than 25% are classified as having good fish habitat potential and streams greater than 25% are classified as having poor fish habitat potential. Often, only a limited number of streams with gradients of greater than 25% will be ground surveyed.

The next step, during forest development and cutblock design, identified rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands have riparian assessments conducted to determine the actual classification of the prescribed riparian area. Riparian management areas (RMA) are established and harvesting prescriptions are developed using criteria set forth in the Forest Practices Code Riparian Management Area guidebook.

In addition, on-site fish inventories are carried out in proposed cut blocks if a stream has potential to support fish populations but no fish were observed during the layout stage.

Riparian Management

Riparian habitats occur along streams and around lakes and wetlands. In order to protect riparian and aquatic habitats, riparian management reserves that exclude timber harvesting, and riparian management zones that restrict timber harvesting, are established according to detailed stream assessments.

The BC Forest Practices Code defines a riparian management area (RMA), riparian reserve zone (RRZ) and riparian management zone (RMZ). The riparian management area (RMA) is a combination of the riparian reserve zone (RRZ) and the riparian management zone (RMZ).

The purpose of the RMA is to provide protective cover, shade, stability, diversity, small organic debris, and large organic debris depending on the requirements of the individual RMA for the stream, river, lake or wetland.

The RRZ is a reserve where no timber harvesting is permitted without authorization from the District Manager.

The RMZ is an area outside the RRZ that may restrict timber-harvesting practices.

The prescribed widths of both the RRZ and the RMZ are determined by the appropriate stream, lake or wetland classification system and are summarized in operational annual reports.

Timber harvesting practices are prescribed within the RMA to preserve the functionality of the stream through windfall protection, stream bank integrity, and water quality, and secondly to provide additional wildlife trees.

Stream Restoration

Under Forest Renewal BC's watershed restoration program, we have conducted fish stream restoration activities on many of the streams and rivers impacted by past harvesting operations. Restoration activities include removal of log jams, stream bank protection, creating pools, diverting streams back into old channels, and building fish ladders.


Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat

We address concerns for identified wildlife through a hierarchical approach to habitat management.

BC and Alberta have a wide range of forest ecosystems from coastal temperate rainforests to northern boreal forests. We operate in many of these ecosystems. We are developing an integrated approach to providing ecosystem-specific solutions to better reflect the great diversity of wildlife species and wildlife habitats associated with those ecosystems.

Over the past 25 years, Canfor has undertaken a series of measures to address the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat. These measures include ecosystem mapping, wildlife habitat modeling, wildlife inventories, habitat management/restoration and wildlife research.

Ecosystem Mapping

Ecosystem Mapping provides our forest planners with baseline ecological data to support a multitude of resource management initiatives including predictive ecosystem mapping, site index ecological correlation, environmental monitoring, and forest product certification.

A Vegetation Resources Inventory combined with a digital terrain model forms the foundation of ecosystem mapping development.

Three integrated processes are used to prepare a vegetation resource inventory.

  1. photo-interpreted estimates
  2. ground-sample measurements
  3. statistical analysis and adjustment of the original estimates

The photo-interpretation process shows where timber and other kinds of vegetation are located. It involves using aerial photos to identify the location of timber and other vegetation resources throughout the landscape.

Ground sampling measures how much timber, vegetation, and woody debris is present within a given area. It describes both the quantity and quality of vegetation in sample areas.

Statistical analysis involves using the ground sample measurements to adjust the photo-interpreted estimates to remove interpretation bias.

Wildlife Habitat Modeling

Forecasting for species at risk is done through wildlife habitat modeling for selected species.

Species chosen for habitat modeling are selected relative to their importance as defined in the local Land and Resource Management Plan, and to their provincial or federally listed status.

Standard field data on wildlife habitat are collected and used along with data from recently completed wildlife inventories to refine existing models.

The habitat models are applied to the entire forest land base using the results of ecosystem mapping. The models are then combined with timber forecasts to forecast wildlife habitat availability over time, and to identify areas requiring specific management needs.

For example, both woodland caribou and the black-throated green warbler will require landscape level analysis.

Where required, coarse (e.g., seral stage) and fine filter (e.g., provision of coarse woody debris) strategies will be changed to ensure the Company's operations do not adversely affect the habitat for species at risk.

Examples of Species Selected for Habitat Modeling And Some Of The Criteria Used For Their Selection

Species National Status Provincial Status LRMP/Local Use
Grizzly Bear Vulnerable Blue/Identified Locally Important/Hunting
Marten     Trapping
Fisher   Blue/Identified Trapping
Wolverine Vulnerable Blue Trapping
Caribou Vulnerable Blue Hunting
Moose     Hunting
Elk     Hunting
Mountain Goat   Identified Locally Important/Hunting
Black-throated Green Warbler   Red Locally Important
Trumpeter Swan   Blue/Identified Locally Important
Northern Goshawk   Identified  
Three-toed Woodpecker     Primary cavity nester

Wildlife Inventories

Multi-species inventories (e.g., rare plants, breeding birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, owls, small mammals, bats, bears) are conducted across Alberta and BC.

These inventories are designed to calibrate the developed wildlife models by providing more complete information on local wildlife species abundance and establishing habitat use patterns.

Again, the data from these inventories are used to refine the species list for the forest land base and have been incorporated into habitat models.

For instance, recent fieldwork indicates that the northern goshawk model can predict nesting habitat and that the grizzly bear model can predict spring and fall feeding habitats.

Habitat Management/Reforestation

Until wildlife habitat models have been calibrated and applied to an entire forest area, there are several interim strategies that can be implemented to sustain wildlife habitat and minimize disturbance to wildlife.

Road Deactivation programs limit disturbance and hunter access to species such as grizzly, wolverine, caribou, moose and elk.

Coarse Woody Debris is retained in cutblocks to provide habitat and food for species such as marten, fisher and grizzly bear.

Wildlife Tree Patches are retained to provide habitat for species such as grizzly bear, marten, fisher, wolverine, moose, and elk.

Riparian Management Zones are retained to provide habitat for each of the species that Canfor is managing.

No-Harvest Buffers are provided on a variety of wildlife features including stick nests, bear dens, marten dens, and wildlife licks.

Temporal Buffers may be used to delay/defer management activities in the vicinity of nest sites during breeding season of species such as Northern Goshawks or Trumpeter Swans.

grizzly bear