The future of forestry and my role within it
Many of my hobbies have me finding myself surrounded by oceans, lakes and forests. My decision to study environmental systems at SFU was largely due to my appreciation for B.C.’s natural beauty, and my desire to be a steward of those ecosystems. Although I had never deliberately planned to work in forestry, it is not surprising that I found a co-op in the industry. Before working at Canfor, I found that forestry in the media is often painted in a negative light. Old Growth protests are commonplace in the news cycle and forestry headlines are very rarely positive despite the value wood products provide to society. I believe this narrative may be a deterrent for young people to work in the industry and it has been my hope as a Green Dream Intern with FPAC that young people can see all the opportunities in the industry. In this post I want to share some aspects of the forest industry that excite me for the future of the industry in Canada.
Another reason I chose to study environmental systems was my concern for climate change. Many young people are concerned about the future of our planet and rightfully so. The climate benefits of wood products have been, and continue to be, the focus of many forest researchers, they are helping to ensure that our forests retain their carbon capture potential through sustainable forest management practices. I think the forest industry provides opportunities for young people, or climate-concerned citizens to work in an industry that is less carbon intensive and will be essential for society to reach its decarbonization goals.
I was given the opportunity to meet and interact with many departments and individuals to learn about their work and projects including the bio-innovation team. People at Canfor and across the world are doing amazing research and innovation into all the possible uses of wood fibre to create low-carbon alternatives that could displace fossil intensive products. Personally, I am no engineer or research scientist, but found the work being done incredible. I did not initially think that the forest sector would have career opportunities for young engineers and scientists, but throughout my co-op realized that there are plenty of opportunities.
As it turns out, the forest industry does not only provide jobs for foresters. The forest industry is a great place for people of all backgrounds including forestry, communication, finance, environment, engineering, science, skilled trades and more!
Decarbonization is very important to me as a citizen and environmental student, and I believe forestry will play a significant role as Canada achieves its climate change goals. For this reason, the forest industry should be attractive for all climate concerned citizens. Looking back at my 15-month co-op at Canfor, this is a company I could see myself growing a successful career just as many of my colleagues have. I believe the future of forestry in Canada is bright and is an industry where I could work on meaningful projects that are directly connected to my values.