District of Houston and surrounding area are part of this year’s largest tree planting program.
This year, the Nadina Forest District which includes Burns Lake and Houston, will have the largest district program for tree planting with 36 million trees to be planted across the regions, according to the ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
In 2020, just over 300 million trees were planted amidst an unprecedented pandemic. Incorporating COVID prevention and control protocols at the direction of the Public Health Officer allowed last year’s planting season to take place without a single confirmed case, said the ministry.
This year, tree planting began provincially on the Coast in early February and by mid-April in the Interior with roughly 300 million trees to be planted this year as well. A large portion of tree planting across the northern region of the province is expected to wrap up by mid-July. Monthly statistics are not readily available. However, at the peak of tree planting season, it’s expected between 10 million and 20 million seedlings will be planted per day, said the ministry.
The nearby Skeena Stikine District, whose border is close to Houston, is slated to plant six million trees.
The ministry spokesperson said that all seedlings currently being planted were spring plants, which means most would have to have been finished being planted by the end of June and a majority of those trees would be planted while some would continue to be planted until mid-July.
Once the tree planting is concluded, the ministry carries out plantation survival surveys over the years to ensure that the reforestation investments are successful and that licensees meet their legal obligations.
The tree planting program is extremely crucial for the province. According to the ministry, British Columbia leads the country with science-based reforestation efforts, planting trees today that will become the forests of tomorrow. Reforestation supports B.C.’s efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change, ensures sustainable forest management and creates environmental benefits for future generations.
Trees are also extremely valuable for carbon sequestration – they hold carbon from the atmosphere and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Replanting harvested areas also reduces the risk of landslides and floods, while forests support the biodiversity and wildlife habitat British Columbians value.
By the time they are grown, one million trees planted today can have the equivalent greenhouse gas benefit of removing 42,000 cars from the road for a year, said the ministry.
Tree planting in the neighbouring Burns Lake region completed at the end of June for two contractors Hybrid 17 and Waterside Ventures. Between the two, a total of 9.8 million trees were planted.