Tuesday, February 27, 2007

British Columbia Clean Energy Plan

Today the government of the province of British Columbia outlined their Clean Energy Plan.

The news release states that the Province will require zero net greenhouse gas emissions from all new electricity projects and will support the development of clean energy technology.

Many targets were announced relating to clean energy, and the target dates ranged from 2010 to 2020. The highlights that stood out for me include:

Zero greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity generation.
Coal has always been thought of as a dirty energy source, but new technologies will allow coal to be used more efficiently and cleanly.

An ambitious target to acquire 50 per cent of BC Hydro’s incremental resource needs through conservation by 2020.
They had set an earlier target of about 30%, but now it is bumped up to 50%. According to the government document, current per household electricity consumption for BC Hydro customers is about 10,000 Kwh per year. Achieving this conservation target will see electricity use per household decline to approximately 9,000 Kwh per year by 2020.

The new BC Bioenergy Strategy will take advantage of B.C.’s abundant sources of renewable energy, such as beetle-killed timber, wood wastes and agricultural residues.
It is great to see a positive proposal for wood fibre that previously would have gone unused. The wood quality of lodgepole pine killed by mountain pine beetle deteriorates within a few years if it is left standing in the forest (if timber is harvested soon after beetle attack the wood quality is still fine). Beetle wood that is no longer suitable for lumber may still prove useful in bioenergy.

I am not sure how realistic the government's targets are, but it's encouraging to see them presenting some large scale initiatives towards energy conservation and cleaner fuels. Future governments will have to continue addressing these targets, as the bar has now been set.

For more information on the BC Energy Plan visit: http://energyplan.gov.bc.ca

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Beaver seen near New York City

Just read that a beaver was seen swimming up the Bronx River near New York City, the first time a beaver has been seen in the area for about two centuries.

A beaver specialist stated that beaver populations are expanding, but their habitat is shrinking, so it isn't too big a surprise. Most people probably didn't think that this could happen in a heavily developped area and non-pristine river.

The first thing that came to my mind is that you can never count wildlife out, that a species will find a way to persist if at all possible. Efforts have been underway to clean up the Bronx River, and this should give even more incentive. It also made me think of the mountain caribou populations in Southern BC, and how the herds are shrinking. Will they be able to persist like the beaver, and what can be done to help them?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Welcome to the ForesterBlog.com

This blog will be about forestry related issues, mostly in Canada and the US, but these days we know forest practices in one part of the world can affect another.

I live in British Columbia, Canada, and this year we are expecting to see more impacts from mountain pine beetle attack on lodgepole pine stands. I have been working in and around lodgepole pine stands for the past few years and have seen the impacts firsthand.

Mountain pine beetle attack is expected to continue for at least three more years - until 2010 - at which time the majority of lodgepole pine stands in BC are expected to be dead. This will have huge environmental and economic impacts on the province, especially in areas where lodgepole pine stands dominate the landscape, such as the central and northern interior of the province. The summers have been much hotter in recent years, and the dry, dead pine stands are conducive to creating large scale forest fires.