Okanagan-Columbia Forest Education Highlights
Jennifer Stewart, Kalon Nahachewsky- Okanagan/Columbia Forest Educators
Debbie Bazett- Forest Education Coordinator, COFI - Southern Operations
Premier Celebrates Six Billionth Tree Planted in B.C.
KELOWNA – Premier Gordon Campbell and Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman were joined by local community and industry leaders in a ceremony on April 18 to celebrate the planting of the six billionth tree in British Columbia since reforestation programs began in the 1930s.
“This tree represents an incredible milestone in our ongoing commitment to sustainable forest management here in British Columbia,” said Campbell. “British Columbia’s forests are a critical economic engine for our province, a treasured part of our natural heritage and a powerful ally in our fight against climate change. Since reforestation began in the 1930s, we estimate the seedlings planted have sequestered two billion tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime. As we move towards our goal of net-zero deforestation in B.C., we’ll further build on this legacy of reforestation, and further strengthen our forest resource.”
“Planting the six billionth tree symbolizes our approach to sustainable forest management,” said Coleman. “We have nearly as much natural, diverse forest as we had 150 years ago, while at the same time our forest sector is delivering long-term economic benefits to British Columbians.”
“We are proud to have the six billionth tree planted in our community because it’s a great reminder of how we can all make a difference to make the world a better place,” said Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd. “In Kelowna, we are working to ensure that our policies support a greener city for future generations.”
“This is a major accomplishment on the part of many people – tree planters, nursery workers, forest companies, professional foresters and technicians, scientists and researchers, and governments,” said John Allan, president of the Council of Forest Industries. “The forest industry helped build this great province and, by planting hundreds of millions of trees every year, we know our forests and forest industry will remain a vital part of our future.”
The six billionth tree is a ponderosa pine, a native B.C. species and ecologically suited to growing in the Okanagan. It took 51 years from the time the first seedling was planted in British Columbia in 1930 to the first billion milestone in 1981. The second billion mark was reached in 1989, the third billion in 1993, the fourth billion in 1997 and the fifth billion in 2002. In the 2008 throne speech, government committed to pursue a goal of zero net deforestation. In addition, the Forests for Tomorrow program will plant an additional 60 million seedlings over the next four years.
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