Northwest Institute

Working towards social and ecological sustainability in Northwest British Columbia since 1996

Forestry Dialogue


April 9-10, 2019

In April 2019, 60 people, from a range of business, union, community and environmental sectors, gathered to discuss the urgent need for the provincial government to reform forest management to better reflect ecosystem based management and support community economic certainty - within the context of indigenous rights and title, climate change and BC’s globally important biodiversity. Five speakers set the context and a facilitated discussion followed. A summary of the full discussion and conclusions follow.


As a consequence of the May 2018 Professional Reliance review report the conversation on the state of the forests and their management was revitalized. The professional reliance recommendations called for and are bringing forward a broad, renewed call for change in BC’s approach to forest management.

The current government in its election platform, and subsequently in their mandate letters, made a commitment to address such critical matters as: species legislation, reconciliation, environmental assessment, land and water use planning, wildlife habitat management, and water sustainability.  However, each of these initiatives is underlain by the need for diverse and ecologically healthy forests, and without broad forestry reform will be largely unsuccessful.

Recently a number of government initiatives directed to updating FRPA’s legal and policy framework are moving forward.  As well there are other opportunities to build on, such as: the activities of the Forest and Range Practices Advisory Committee, the Coastal and Interior Revitalization Initiatives, First Nation reconciliation and the Green-NDP CASA Agreement.

However, it remains unclear how, or if, the current government will change the long-term management of BC’s forests. As well the current initiatives are being done in a vacuum as a long-term vision is lacking.

There is therefore a growing recognition by a wide-range of organizations that now is a good opportunity to begin the change needed to reform forest management in BC; and to develop a long-term vision for a more holistic approach to the management of the forest environment and our natural resources.

This forest Dialogue was suggested as one method for moving this vision and conversation forward.


The Dialogue was organized by the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research, with funding support from Tides Canada.  The gathering was designed more as a dialogue than a traditional conference.  Attendance was limited to ~65 people who understood and supported the purposes.  Attendees were a diverse range of influential individuals representing First Nations, university, organizations, NGO’s, unions and business from throughout the province. Minister Doug Donaldson spoke at Noon on April 10th.  Other speakers were Dean John Innes UBC Forestry, Mayor Bob Simpson from Quesnel, Dr. Jim Pojar retired forest ecologist and Joel Starlund, Executive Director of the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs.

Download a Summary of the April 9-10 Dialogue

Prior to April 9-10, a series of community discussions focusing on key local concerns were held with a variety of community representatives from around the province.  Feedback from these discussions helped frame the approach to the April Dialogue.

Download a Summary of the Community Discussions

Victoria Gathering Photo Album

Forestry Conversations 2019


Following are the presentations that the five key speakers delivered at the Dialogue, both video and their accompanying powerpoint. (Video portion coming mid May 2019)

The Academic Perspective

Dr. John Innes, Dean UBC Faculty of Forestry
Download PDF
View Video

The Indigenous Perspective

Joel Starlund/Sk’a’nism Tsa ‘Win’Giit, Executive Director Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs
Download PDF
View Video

The Ecological Perspective

Jim Pojar Ph.D., R.P.Bio., Senior Ecologist (ESA)
Download PDF
View Video

The Community Perspective

Bob Simpson, Mayor City of Quesnel
Download PDF
View Video


The Government Perspective

Hon. Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and 
Rural Development
View Video

These four documents were provided to read before attending.

A Forestry Dialogue – Community Meetings Summary.

Bob Peart, 2019.

Download PDF

A Brief and Torturous History of Forestry in British Columbia

Dr. Jim Pojar, 2019. This document was developed by Jim specifically as a background piece for the Forest Dialogue. It contains a storehouse of historical knowledge.

Download PDF

Forestry and Carbon in BC

Dr. Jim Pojar, 2019

Download PDF

A Sustainable Land Use Public Opinion Poll

Prepared by the Real Estate Foundation, 2019.

Visit website

These references were provided for general context:

Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities by Bill Bourgeois. Visit website

Restoring Forestry in BC: The story of the industry's decline and the case for regional management. Bob Williams January 2018. Visit website

Professional Reliance Review. Mark Haddock, 2018. Download PDF

A New Climate for Conservation: Nature, Carbon and Climate Change in British Columbia. Dr. Jim Pojar, 2010. Download PDF

Taking Nature's Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity in BC. 2008. Visit website


Table of LNG Projects in Northwest BC


A table providing details on the 18 proposed Liquified Natural Gas projects in Northwest British Columbia. Last updated September 10, 2019.

Download the PDF (116 KB)

Rio Tinto Alcan Environmental Appeal Board Hearing Summaries April - June 2015


Two outdoors-loving Kitimat teachers, Lis Stannus and Emily Towes, have launched a case with the Environmental Appeal Board against the Ministry of Environment (MOE). The two appellants are challenging MOE’s decision to allow Rio Tinto Alcan to increase its sulphur dioxide emissions from its Kitimat aluminum smelter by 55 percent above current permit levels. Even more, MOE is allowing this without the any scrubbers installed at the smelter. Emily and Lis both suffer from asthma, and both teachers are concerned about their students’ health and worried about the effects of the increased emissions on the forests and waterways of the Kitimat-Terrace valley.

The hearings are expected to take four weeks. The first two weeks of hearings will be held in Victoria from April 27 -May 1 and from May 11-15.  Then there will be two weeks of hearings in Kitimat from June 1-5 and June 8-12.

Hearing Summaries

Victoria, April 27 2015, Day 1

Victoria, April 28-29 2015, Day 2 and 3

Victoria, April 30 2015, Day 4

Victoria, May 1 2015, Day 5

Victoria, May 11-12 2015, Day 6 and 7

Victoria, May 13, 2015, Day 8

Victoria, May 14-15 2015, Day 9 and 10

Kitimat, June 1 2015, Day 11

Kitimat, June 2-4, Day 12-14

Kitimat, June 4-5, Day 14-15

Kitimat, June 8, Day 16

Kitimat, June 10, Day 17-18

Kitimat, June 11-12, Day 19-20

Victoria, June 29-30, Final Argument

Brochure: What you need to know about Petronas and its impacts on Skeena Salmon


This brochure provides an overview of the impacts that Petronas' proposed Pacific Northwest LNG facility poses to juvenile salmon habitat in the Skeena Estuary. It was created in November 2014 and distributed widely to communities in the Skeena watershed.

Download the PDF (3.2 MB).

Brochure: LNG in Northwest BC


This publication provides an overview of proposed LNG projects in Northwest BC and takes a close look at air pollution in Kitimat/Terrace and salmon impacts in the Skeena Estuary. It was produced in May 2014 and distributed widely across the region from Haida Gwaii to Burns Lake.

Download the PDF (337 KB).

Comparison of the BC government’s submission on Enbridge and the JRP’s recommendation


This pamphlet provides a brief comparison of the BC government's final submission to the Joint Review Panel and the Joint Review Panel's recommendation.  It also highlights critical information regarding the behaviour of diluted bitumen in water, and impacts to humpback whale habitat that were not included in the review.

Download the pamphlet (3.9 MB)

Liquefied Natural Gas


The Northwest Insitute has produced a number of publications about Liquefied Natural Gas proposals in BC including a fact sheet, an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, an up-to-date table of proposals and a request for a Strategic Environmental and Economic Assessement of BC LNG proposals.  

To read these publications, visit our LNG Projects page.

Documenting the Enbridge Joint Review Panel Hearings


If built, the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline would carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands westward to a new tanker port at Kitimat, and carry condensate (a bitumen diluent) eastward to Alberta. The issue is of critical concern to Northwest British Columbians and people from across Canada. Currently, the proposed project is being reviewed by a Joint Review Panel headed by the National Energy Board. The panel travelled throughout Northwest B.C. and elsewhere in B.C. and Alberta to hear from citizens on the matter. The Northwest Institute  documented the hearings throughout the Joint Review process.

To read summaries of the community and technical hearings, visit our Enbridge Joint Review Panel page.

Potential Effects of an Oil Pipeline Rupture on Reach 2 of Morice River


This submission focuses on a portion of the pipeline route that is located adjacent to Morice River, 70 km south of Smithers. Within this area, Morice River has formed a wide floodplain that contains numerous active secondary channels, log jams and wetlands that comprise the core spawning and rearing habitat for Morice River fish populations. Schwab (2011) indicates that slope instability in this area has the potential to rupture the proposed pipelines. This report examines the implications of a pipeline rupture and subsequent clean-up efforts to river processes, fish and fish habitat.

Download Report (9.2Mb PDF)

Jan. 12, 2012 Media Release (PDF)

Analysis of Skeena River Tributaries Downstream from the Proposed Enbridge Pipeline


Jack A. Stanford, and Diane C. Whited were contracted by the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (Smithers, BC) to use existing databases to produce a series of maps describing the geomorphology of tributaries of the Skeena River, British Columbia that will be crossed by the proposed Enbridge pipeline. The objective was to develop and map metrics that delineate the areas of the Skeena River and its tributaries most vulnerable to potential pipeline spills associated with the proposed Enbridge corridor to Kitimat, BC.  The analysis was based on the likely scenario that a spill would result in petrochemicals being carried downstream and distributed in the channels in relation to the geomorphology.

Download Report (694Kb PDF)

Comparison of the British Columbia and Federal Environmental Assessments for the Prosperity Mine


This 2011 report, written by environmental lawyer Mark Haddock, concludes that the BC Environmental Assessment Office's (EAO) recommendation to approve Taseko Mines' proposed Prosperity Mine in B.C.'s west Chilcotin region was based on incomplete evidence and was the result of a hurried, flawed and less than objective process conducted by the agency.

Download report (837kb PDF)

July 20, 2011 Press Release (PDF)

Enbridge Joint Review Panel Workshop


A workshop organized by the Northwest Institute to familiarize the community with aspects of the Joint Review Panel process.

Download presentation (5Mb PDF)

Environmental Assessment Workshop - Smithers, BC


The Northwest Institute organized a 2009 workshop in Smithers on the Environmental Assessment Process.

Tony Pearce CEAA Presentation (400kb PDF)

Susan Rutherford EA Presentation (14Mb PDF)


Valuation of the Wild Salmon Economy of the Skeena Watershed


The Northwest Institute commissioned IBM Business Consulting to conduct a valuation of the wild Salmon economy of the Skeena River Watershed. Their report estimates that the wild Salmon economy of the Skeena River can be valued at approximately $109,987,0001 based on a 2004 base year and 4-year average revenue or revenue-equivalents.

Download report (2Mb PDF)

Download March 30, 2006 Media Release (PDF)

Download March 30, 2006 Globe and Mail article: Tally puts the value of Skeena wild salmon at $110-million annually (PDF)


Community Futures and Choices in the Bulkley Valley


This paper raises questions about the economic future of the Bulkley Valley using the proposed Telkwa Coal Project as the point of departure for its discussion into the economic prospects, choices and trade-offs that face all of the residents of the region as they opt for one set of economic opportunities over another, and one path of development over others.

Download report (500kb PDF)

Status of Salmon Spawning Stocks of the Skeena River System


This report is part of a review of the status and prospects for Skeena salmon stocks and the fisheries they support.

Download report (487kb PDF)

Mushroom Project II


Pine mushroom harvesting in northwestern B.C. is a growing economic activity, but it is unregulated and poorly documented. Often it conflicts with industrial forestry. This mushroom project has provided information on the distribution and habitat requirements of pine mushrooms in the Skeena-Bulkley Region and helped foster cooperation among stakeholders.

Download report (PDF)

Mushroom Project


Our first report on pine mushrooms review community issues and concerns around the sustainability of the resource within current land use planning in the Skeena-Bulkley Region, and consider the economic and social impact of the annual pine mushroom harvest on local communities, including First Nations' peoples.

Download report (552Kb PDF)

Earlier Reports


  • Technical Analysis of Proposed Tulsequah Chief Mine, November 1997
  • An Evaluation of Wildlife Research Related to the Proposed Tulsequah Chief Mine, October 1997
  • Preliminary Avalanche Assessment of the Proposed Tulsequah Road, October 1997 Telkwa Coal Project Analysis, May 1999
  • Ecological Description and Classification of Highly Productive Pine Mushroom Sites in Northwestern British Columbia, January 1999
  • Pine Mushrooms and Timber Production in the Cranberry Timber Supply Area, February 1999
  • Studies of the Pine Mushroom in the Skeena -Bulkley Region, June 1999 Status of Salmon Spawning Stocks of the Skeena River System, June 2000
  • Community Futures and Choices in the Bulkley Valley, January 2001
  • Roads and the Industrialization of Northern British Columbia, May 2003