BC Timber Sales celebrates its 10th year of operation and its support for economic prosperity in rural communities through safe and sustainable forest management.
National Forest Week is an appropriate time not only to celebrate this milestone, but also to look ahead to BC Timber Sales’ next decade by examining its current role and effectiveness and identifying ways to improve this important provincial agency.
BC Timber Sales (BCTS) was established on June 20, 2003 with a mandate to support the market-based pricing system for the province’s forest resources, by setting cost and price benchmarks for timber harvested from public land in British Columbia.
It was envisioned as a business-focused organization that would deliver private-sector performance while maintaining public-sector values.
One of BC Timber Sales primary goals is to generate provincial revenue through the development and open competitive auction of Crown timber, which in turn creates employment opportunities for British Columbians.
The global economic slowdown in 2008 had a significant impact on forestry and lumber operations in B.C. During the same period, the mountain pine beetle was damaging pine forests in the Interior.
BCTS responded to these significant challenges by reducing costs, continuing to sell timber into the market, modifying its operations to focus on beetle-infested timber, and devising innovative ways to promote new timber sales. This resulted in better utilization of beetle-infested trees and ongoing support for rural economies and forest-related jobs.
BCTS staff stay true to the notion that B.C.’s extensive timber resources can be harvested in ways that are not only environmentally responsible, but also responsive to the needs of the forest industry, rural communities, First Nations and other stakeholders.
BCTS achievements over the past 10 years include:
- 143 million cubic metres of timber offered for sale.
- $360 million in net revenue generated for the Province.
- 76,000 hectares of land site-prepared for tree planting.
- 425 million tree seedlings planted.
BCTS provides seedlings and manages planting contracts for the Forests for Tomorrow program, creating efficiencies that allow the program to deliver more benefits with the same funding. The organization’s forest stewardship plans identify how various forest values will be managed, and its operating plans clearly identify proposed cut blocks and road-building projects.
The efforts of BCTS staff to promote economic prosperity and sustainable resource development have been acknowledged numerous times over the past decade, including a gold Premier’s Regional Award for Innovation in 2007-08. BCTS was a finalist for a Premier’s Award for Organizational Excellence in 2006-07 and has also been recognized by the B.C. Forest Safety Council for its efforts to promote safe working practices within the sector.
BC Timber Sales continues to play an important role in supporting the government’s BC Jobs Plan Forest Sector Strategy and the ministry’s objective to generate revenue from B.C.’s natural resources.