The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Forest Society, led by instructor Jonathan Smyth, is being recognized by the Province with the 2020 Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management for the Coast area.
“I am pleased to announce BCIT is a woodlot award recipient for its commitment to developing future forestry industry leaders,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The dedication and enthusiasm for embracing new sustainable forestry practices demonstrated by lead instructor Jonathan Smyth will ensure our province’s forests will benefit future generations.”
Woodlot licensees are small-scale forest managers who strive to take a hands-on approach to natural resource management. Timber is harvested in a manner consistent with principles of stewardship and sustainability. Each year, the minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development recognizes three woodlot licensees that exemplify excellence in woodlot management.
Licensees are recognized for excellence in three categories:
- Basic and Incremental Forestry;
- Sales, Marketing and Utilization; and
- Good Woodlot Citizen.
The BCIT Forest Society holds woodlot licence W0007 in Maple Ridge, which it operates as a non-profit society. All proceeds used for bursaries and scholarships to educate forestry students, including the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations.
As an instructor at BCIT and president of the BCIT Forest Society, Smyth is forging the way for future sustainable approaches to forestry involving the entire community. Smyth has created synergies with local mills, operators, adjacent tenure holders and non-forest interest groups to create a community-based integrated plan for Blue Mountain while employing students and First Nations peoples.
Smyth is dedicated to continuously researching new approaches to forest management to educate the province’s future forest workers. As a long-time Scout volunteer, Smyth gives kids hands-on experience in the woods, teaching them about natural history while hiking the area. Some innovative uses for the woodlot fibre include First Nations harvesting of medicinal and ceremonial plants and bark stripping, cedar used for bike and hiking trail features, and greenery used by movie crews.
“I am incredibly proud of the dedication and positive impact this year’s Coast award winner has demonstrated over the years to provide benefits to BCIT’s forest and natural areas management program and its many students, the surrounding community and the local forest,” said Jeff Beale, president, Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations. “Congratulations go to the BCIT Forest Society for this well-deserved award and kudos to Jonathan Smyth, the driving force behind the woodlot program.”
The Province recognizes three woodlot licensees and an overall provincial top performer for innovation and excellence in woodlot management. This year’s other two recipients are:
- Sahlstrom Enterprises – provincial and South area; and
- Benjamin Wilson – North area
Award winners receive a signed, framed certificate of recognition from the minister. The area winners each take home $2,500, with an additional $2,500 going to the top performer in the province.
The awards are funded by the Province of British Columbia and administered by the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations. Since 2010, the annual awards have recognized a woodlot licensee representing each of the Coast, South and North areas, along with an overall top performer. Award winners are nominated through the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations.
- Woodlot licences are small, area-based tenures managed by individuals, partnerships or First Nations.
- Licence holders are granted exclusive rights to manage Crown timber within the woodlot licence area and must manage any private land contribution according to provincial forestry legislation, including the Forest Act, Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
- While any amount of private land can be included in the woodlot licence area, the maximum amount of Crown land attributable to a woodlot licence is 800 hectares on the Coast and 1,200 hectares in the Interior.
- British Columbia has 847 issued woodlots. Each woodlot generates jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture and small-scale timber processing.
- Woodlot licences contribute to approximately 2% of the provincial annual allowable timber harvest.