Event date: Wednesday, February 19th at 13:00 ET
Canada’s forests cover 40% of it’s 979 million hectares. The pulp and paper production numbers in Canada have been shrinking for 15 years, and Canada’s strategy forest management is not leveraging active forest management as a means of climate change mitigation and carbon uptake. As Canada’s demand for more bioenergy fuels grows, the opportunity for investment in sustainable forest management practices grows and with it, potential environmental, economic and technological benefits.
In order to develop a stronger BioEconomy, Chris Henderson presented the concept of a BioEnergy Trifecta, which illustrates the interconnection between Smart (or Active) Forestry Management, BioEnergy Supply Chains, and Heat & Power Policies and Procurement. In order for the Indigenous BioEconomy to grow and flourish, there needs to be advancements in each of these three areas.
In terms of the benefits for each of these sectors, benefits and advancements in one area will drive momentum in the other areas. In terms of the impacts and benefits to Indigenous communities and businesses, there are numerous benefits in each area of the Trifecta. The biggest opportunity for Indigenous participation is in the evolution of forestry management and the employment and leadership opportunities that stem from opening up that industry. For communities that can benefit from BioEnergy projects, the development of better access to feedstocks will have environmental benefits from diesel reduction, and economic benefits for communities that can keep investments local and employ local staff.
Jamie Stephen introduced the concept of Climate Smart Forestry, which is a way of looking at Active Forestry Management such that the outcomes are driving climate change mitigation, adaptation and reversal. At the center of the approach are principles such as “If society doesn’t value ($) something, no one takes care of it”, and recognition that society needs goods and energy, wood is a renewable resource and supplying wood means cutting down trees. With Active Forestry Management, Climate action is possible, but it requires up-front investment to develop an industry that will support jobs and eventually yield economic and environmental benefits.
For Canadians, the clear benefits of investing in Climate Smart Forestry come not only from the economic and environmental benefits of cleaner energy and more valuable forestry products, but also in the reduction of risk of widespread forest fires, which are forecasted to become more severe as our changing climate produces less summer rainfall and better burning conditions.
The project was borne of the reality that for wood pellet supply to be shipped up to the Inuvik region, the product needs to be transported for many thousands of kilometers, which not only vastly increases the carbon footprint of the fuel, but increases costs dramatically over the cost of the fuel itself (the current cost of shipping accounts for 75% of the fuel cost). By establishing a regional supply in the Yukon, the cost of operating bioheat in communities becomes much more affordable and could make it possible to reduce natural gas and heating oil consumption.
The project has been awarded funding for an initial feasibility assessment and from there will seek support from the Yukon Government. The project aims to deliver impacts that will contribute to meeting the objectives of the Yukon Biomass Strategy, including:
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