2020 is the largest tree planting program in British Columbia’s history. Of the total 310 million trees slated for the 2020 season, 230 million or 75 per cent are slated for B.C.’s Interior. Of these 230 million, the Clearwater area will see 7.6 million. Tree planting crews are in the Clearwater area and are required to follow the utmost strictest of rules imposed by the Public Health Officer.
Why is the Province going ahead with its 2020 tree planting operations, given the current situation with COVID-19?
- Tree planting is a crucial part of making sure B.C. can meet global demand for wood products, build a resilient and sustainable forestry sector, and address the impacts of climate change and wildfires.
- Under the Forest and Range Practices Act, there is an obligation on Licensees to reforest areas which have been harvested.
- Forestry and silviculture were included in the list of essential services as part of the Province’s response to COVID-19 because they provide a continued supply of items like wood, pulp and paper, and soft-pulp products like those used to make medical supplies such as protective masks, drapes, and screens.
- Business operators in forestry and silviculture must follow the orders and guidance provided by the Provincial Health Officer to protect the health and safety of workers and the surrounding communities.
The camps will follow rules as described in Guidelines for Silviculture Worker Camps During the COVID-19 Pandemic April 22, 2020 and will need to have private security ensuing planters do not leave camp after work, regular planting inspections will include COVID 19 check ups, the planters being tested if ill, Health Officers will visit the sites and camps and daily temperature checks will take place.