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