Forestry, an industry which has been a driving force in the province’s economy for more than 150 years, has seen its share of challenges. Today is no exception, as British Columbia’s forest sector addresses multiple issues stemming from fibre supply constraints and current economic conditions. Decreased fibre supply is the result of lower annual allowable cut levels reflecting the end of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, forest fire devastation and caribou management planning. While dealing with these climate change impacts on fibre supply, the sector is also facing economic challenges such as high operating costs, difficult market conditions and punitive tariffs on U.S. exports.
With a history of meeting challenges head on, B.C. must now draw on every tool available as it works through this period of transition. Technology is a key opportunity, particularly as it can quickly obtain comprehensive information regarding the health of trees and associated ecosystems. Forest companies in B.C. have always monitored tree growth and development but now the way monitoring happens – from seedling to maturity – is changing through the convergence of new sensing technologies such as LiDAR, and the ability to deploy sensing technology using drones.
LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is commonly referred to as airborne laser scanning. LiDAR is being used for forest research to more accurately examine everything from the height and diameter of trees to ground terrain evaluation and plot-level wood volume estimates.
In the naturally:wood video Seeing Forest for the Trees: How technology is transforming B.C.’s forest industry, professionals across the sector comment on the use of technology in the management of B.C.’s forests. University of British Columbia (UBC) forestry professor Dr. Nicholas Coops emphasizes that LiDAR and drone use are just two more recent examples of the forest sector’s technological revolution, and the types of technology incorporated into everyday forest management, “This link between technology and forestry has always been there. I think it just happens to be exploding at the moment,” Dr. Nicolas Coops, Professor, UBC Faculty of Forestry.
LiDAR technology can be used with airplanes or drones and involves sending pulses of light down to the ground that bounce back and mirrors the data captured into images. This allows forest planners to measure the topography, depth, height, slope and other values of the land being surveyed.
Across the province’s Coastal and Interior forests alike, B.C. companies, like Mosaic Forest Management and West Fraser are adopting these cutting-edge technologies that provide more comprehensive information on forests along with increased accuracy, productivity and efficiencies.
“As leaders in forest stewardship internationally and in technological development provincially, the forest industry in Canada has long since understood the need to constantly strive for producing the most accurate and sustainable forest management plans possible. That comes from taking full advantage of cutting-edge technologies, such as LiDAR and drones.”
– Domenico Iannidinardo, Vice-President of Sustainability and Chief Forester, Mosaic Forest Management.
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. was an early adopter of LiDAR. They use the tech in their Quesnel-area tenure operations to get a better picture of the terrain below the trees. The technology has rapidly improved since they started to use it, and West Fraser has found LiDAR is particularly powerful in developing forest inventory where data is currently not readily accessible or easy to develop on a large scale.
“For us, it provided big improvements in understanding the underlying land so we can develop better locations for roads, identify potential safety issues before we arrive on site, improve our selection of areas to conserve or protect in harvest planning and support better seedling planting approaches to improve the forest regrowth.”
– Stuart Lebeck, Manager, West Fraser Timber, Quesnel Woods.
Addressing the industry’s domestic challenges is taking a focussed effort from industry, all levels of government and drawing on academics for continued support on how to further evolve B.C.’s global leadership in sustainable forest management. UBC’s Faculty of Forestry Dean Dr. John Innes is convinced industry’s integration and adoption of technology will only continue to build momentum in the future, “Technology is helping forest managers by allowing them access to huge amounts of data more quickly and more efficiently than ever before,” he says. “I believe that the forest industry will continue to use increasing amounts of technology because it will continue to make forestry more efficient, and it’s going to make our practices that much better.”
Enhanced by technology, B.C.’s sustainable forest management means the province’s forests will continue to be a source of jobs and green building products, now and in the future. To learn more about how technology is transforming British Columbia’s forest industry, visit naturallywood.com.
An increasing number of health-care facilities are incorporating wood to provide patients and visitors with a warm, natural aesthetic, and a calm, stress-reducing connection to nature.
Research begins to show the biophilic benefits of wood, which suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. Study results show students who spent time in rooms featuring natural wood exhibited lower stress reactivity. During all three periods of the study, stress, as measured by sympathetic nervous system activation, was measurably lower on average in the rooms featuring wood than in the non-wood office.
The bold, striking use of wood throughout the space — uncommon in such health-care settings— softens the hospital’s institutional feel and creates a calm, stress-reducing connection to nature, while standing up to weather, wear and tear, and rigorous maintenance. As the research on biophilic benefits of wood continues to grow, one of B.C.’s busiest hospitals leads the way in offering patients a comforting, supportive, and healing environment.
For architect and timber advocate Peter Busby, wood is one of nature’s greatest innovations
B.C. forest products are a predominant structural and finishing material for a wide range of transit infrastructure throughout the province, including airports, bus exchanges and SkyTrain stations. Learn more about the use of wood in transportation projects.
Learn about the latest wood design and construction trends within these four building applications while earning Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) recognized continuing learning units towards professional development.
With its wide-ranging use of different wood species, the Prince George Airport demonstrates how a high-traffic building can benefit from the resilience, versatility, durability, and thermal characteristics of wood. These were important considerations for this northern city, situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, which is prone to cold, harsh winters.
An effective insulator with a warm aesthetic, wood is particularly well suited to the demanding atmospheres of swimming pools — as well as ice rinks in arenas. Wood tolerates high levels of humidity, offers acoustic and thermal benefits, and absorbs and releases water vapour without compromising its structural integrity. Indoor pool design has evolved to include ample use of natural light and bold, innovative uses of B.C. wood from sustainably managed forests.
Interview with Darryl Condon, Managing Principal of HCMA Architecture + Design, who has embraced and often pioneered the use of wood and mass timber in community, civic, and recreational aquatic facilities throughout British Columbia and Canada. He shares why wood is often an integral material in the buildings they design, and how they’ve pushed the boundaries of what is possible with wood.
Located in John Hendry Park in east Vancouver, this ice rink was the first phase in the replacement of an aging community centre facility. The rink served as a practice facility for competitors who participated in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and opened for public use after the Games.