Re: Canada should avoid the mistakes the U.K. made in biomass for energy

As a forester living and working in British Columbia, I have a good understanding of how BC’s forests are managed and harvested. Our current logging practices do not “risk devastating ecosystem collapse” everywhere, as suggested by Bertie Harrison-Broninski and Richard Robertson. Come over and you will see seedlings sprouting all over lands denuded by logging, fires, and insects. Trees are invasive by nature. The BC government is also putting measures in place to protect critical old growth, like the inland rainforest featured in authors’ selected reference, and is involving indigenous peoples in land use decisions, including forestry, mining, oil and gas. This is good news.

I am also aware of the export of wood pellets from BC and elsewhere to generate electricity at Drax’s facilities in the UK. Pellets are made from wood unsuitable for milling into higher-value products, and which would otherwise be burned on site. However, shipping pellets half-way around the world does not make sense. Northern European countries, like Sweden and Finland, use their residual wood waste to heat homes and communities. So should we. BC Hydro is making funding opportunities available for climate action projects as its large hydro-electric dams can’t keep up with growing demand. Certainty there must be a business case for burning BC’s wood pellets in BC, while also protecting old growth.

Brian T. Barber, BSF, MA, RPF, CEO, Select Seed Co. Ltd., Victoria, BC. April 25, 2024