Forestry Initiatives Program

The Forestry Initiatives Program was created to address the multiple challenges facing our community at this time - mainly protecting our communities from wildfire. Currently we are working to:

  • Implement our Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)
  • Encourage home and business owners to FireSmart their properties
  • Advocate for landscape-level analysis and restoration
  • Explore ways to innovate the forest products manufacturing sector
  • Assist with the collaborative community forest agreement application along with project partners: Lhtako Dené, Nazko, ?Esdilagh, and Lhoosk’uz Dené First Nations 

The objective of the program is to build ‘home-grown’ solutions for Quesnel during its time of transition to be innovative, resilient and help grow a sustainable future for everyone who chooses to call the area home.

This program is made possible through funding provided by the City of Quesnel, BC Rural Dividend, Community Resiliency Investment Program, Forestry Enhancement Society of British Columbia, and Cariboo Strong.


Learn about our different programs.


Quesnel’s CWPP identifies 34 fuel treatment units. The overall goal of the program is to implement the CWPP using multiple funding sources, starting with areas within the 2 km wildland urban interface (WUI) and working outwards.

The City is working with: local area licensees and Provincial agencies, such as BC Parks and all branches of the Ministry of Forest, Land, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development, to identify the potential collaborations and innovative approaches needed for advancing the fuel mitigation work laid out in the CWPP. 

The City enables the collaboration and consensus-building needed to carryout out large-scale fuel management, and the associated fibre utilization and job creation opportunities.

Through our work on reducing wildfire risk, Quesnel is featured in the new Canada in a Changing Climate, a national assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing, the impacts of these changes on our communities, environment and economy, and how we are adapting.  Check out the Quesnel case study here.


Working with our Provincial government partners, the City of Quesnel is supporting the landscape level analysis and restoration project. The goal of this project is to shift the way we manage for merchantable timber to managing the ecosystem for multiple values.

We are proposing a learning laboratory on the land west of the Fraser River to test alternate forms of ecosystem management. The proposed project consists of research, management and planning to better understand the role of fire and forest health on ecosystem functions. We are looking at ways that prescribed fires can restore landscapes that are resilient to a changing climate and potential future mega-fires. Above and beyond prescribed fires are different fuel management techniques, including thinning, spacing, and utilizing more of the fibre left behind from traditional harvesting practices. 


Quesnel is also home to one of the most diverse concentrations of wood products manufacturing facilities in the world. We have many of the best milling and processing operations that have been used for making traditional wood products, which can now be diversified. Through research and development, forestry companies are experimenting with wood-fibre residues and other byproducts of forest product manufacturing. Some of these products include prefabricated construction materials, wood composites, biofuels, bio-oils, pellets, and biodegradable single use products.

The City has been working with research and development companies, like FPInnovations, to explore the future of wood products. The emerging research from FPInnovations illustrates the magnitude of possible alternative wood products, which can augment and/or replace many products in the construction and assembly processes, as well as everyday consumable products.

There are many innovative and alternative uses for wood-fibre, many of which are already in development and entering the market.

  • Nanocrystalline Cellulose has a vast range of uses, including strengthening and stiffening materials, and changing the texture of paper. 
  • Lignin is an all-natural, renewable green alternative for fossil fuel-based compounds that can create adhesives and thermoplastics.



Find out how you can reduce the risk of fire damage to your home and property, and how we can help. Also, view event and contest information from FireSmart month, held in May.


Training and Research

Learn more about the research we are involved with and the training projects we partnering on.



(Summer 2021) We are partnering with Freya Logging to offer a unique training opportunity this summer! Successful candidates with be trained on the job to operate a forwarder over a 20-day period. No previous experience is necessary. Application deadline is now closed.


Research Projects

The Forestry Initiatives Program is involved in a number of different research projects.


(2019 - Ongoing) The City of Quesnel applied an innovative selective harvesting technique in a mature Douglas-fir forest stand with the objectives of maintaining biodiversity and reducing fuel-load buildup and consequent wildfire threat. FPInnovations researchers monitored and documented the harvesting operations and measured machine productivity to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the operation. The project to collect baseline data is complete and the full report is available. There are 8 permanent research plots that will be used for future research.


(2021 - 2025) FPInnovations, the University of British Columbia, Laval University and NRCan have asked the Province of BC (Chief Foresters Office), Quesnel Resource District, and the City of Quesnel to be involved in a large national research project called Silva21 which aims to improve silvicultural practices across Canada.


(2021) The Forestry Initiatives Program and the UBC Forestry Vibrant Forest Landscapes Lab partnered to bring two UBC PhD students to Quesnel to conduct research. This six-month project investigated the relationships between members of the Quesnel forest industry in order to identify conditions that foster learning and innovation, particularly among smaller forest enterprises. The students interviewed a range of local forestry players to create a social network map and analysis. Funding was provided through the Province of British Columbia's Rural Dividend Program, and the MiTACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems) Accelerate Program. The final report will be shared end of 2021.

Program news and events

Interested in what the Program has achieved and upcoming events? Read all of the Program news and list of events!

In the news



  • June 17, 2022 - Canadian forestry researchers converge in Quesnel
  • June 20, 2022 - 5 year national research project called Silva21
  • October 19, 2022 - Master of International Forestry Field School returns to Quesnel


  • January 4, 2021 - Cities Adapt to Extreme Wildfires: Quesnel; by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss
  • February 10, 2021 - Quesnel’s Forestry program recognized through nomination
  • March 5, 2021 - Quesnel is hoping to fund fire smart activity on private lands
  • March 29, 2021 - City of Quesnel reaches milestone in quest for a community forest
  • June 2, 2021 - Former BC Forestry Critic says proposed changes to the industry will be good for the area
  • June 2, 2021 - 3 km of trails now open near Quesnel’s airport
  • July 1, 2021 - Cariboo communities receive $500K for wildfire prevention
  • October 7, 2021 - Quesnel hosts UBC’s international forestry students
  • October 13, 2021 - Quesnel Catches Eye of Forestry Projects Both Federal and Provincial
  • October 16, 2021 - Quesnel-area community forest entering land-selection phase


  • January 21, 2020 - BC Premier calls Quesnel a 'hub of innovation'
  • February 6, 2020 - Quesnel keeps an eye on Forestry's longer term future
  • February 11, 2020 - Clearwater looks to Quesnel's forestry vision
  • February 20, 2020 - Workshop will help move Quesnel Community Forest forward
  • February 2020 Issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal - B.C. Interior forest industry is tackling adversity—and planning for the future
  • March 4, 2020 - Importance of FireSmarting your home highlighted at Quesnel open house
  • March 9, 2020 - Cariboo benefits from provincial wildfire prevention money
  • April 8, 2020 - Quesnel and FPInnovations partner to improve forest fibre utilization and forest resilience
  • May 1, 2020 - May is FireSmart month in Quesnel and the surrounding area!
  • May 10, 2020 - How the pandemic could be an opportunity to revive B.C.'s forestry industry, with Mayor Bob Simpson
  • June 26, 2020 - Quesnel prepares to train forestry workers of the future
  • July 8, 2020 - City of Quesnel begins fuel management project on Sugar Loaf Mountain
  • July 13, 2020 - City of Quesnel moves one step closer to getting a community forest
  • September 16, 2020 - City of Quesnel recognized for fire protection efforts
  • September 16, 2020 - New Quesnel-area community forest process moving forward
  • October 4, 2020 - FireSmart Feature: Steve Dodge and composite decking
  • October 9, 2020 - Quesnel council approves funding for community forest process
  • October 9, 2020 - City of Quesnel applying for UBCM grant to advance wildfire preparedness initiatives
  • October 28, 2020 - City of Quesnel hopes to FireSmart private properties in 2021
  • November 5, 2020 - UBC students, researchers and faculty visit Quesnel to learn about forestry
  • December 14, 2020 - Innovative Study Combines First Nations’ Values with Biomass Opportunities


Program Newsletters

The Forestry Initiatives Program Newsletters, which are sent to all of our community partners and interested partners.

If you are interested in receiving these updates, visit and select "Forestry Initiatives Program - News, updates and events". 


We do not have any upcoming events. Check back soon!

Background and reports

The Forestry Initiatives Program emerged from the Future of Forestry Think Tank process, which brought together 65 technical experts in May of 2018 with a wide range of knowledge and expertise to discuss land management and innovation in manufacturing of wood.

2020 Forestry Initiatives Program Annual Report

Future of Forestry Think Tank

Quesnel remains one of the most forest dependent communities in BC, but with our surrounding timber supply taking the hardest hits from both the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and the 2017/2018 wildfires, significant uncertainty exists about the economic future of our region. Fortunately, Quesnel is also home to one of the most integrated and diverse concentrations of wood products manufacturing facilities in the world, including many best in class milling and processing operations.

2019 - Future of Forestry Think Tank: Human Resource session

The City, with funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, hosted a second Future of Forestry Think Tank session on September 19 and 20, 2019. The session occurred at the North Community Campus in Quesnel, and had over 60 participants from the provincial, municipal, First Nation and regional governments, along with members of the local forestry industry, non-government organizations, academic partners, union representatives, and funding organizations.

This session was guided by the question - “If this is the future of forestry, what does our plan for the workforce need to be?”  The Honourable Minister Donaldson, from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Operations, was the Keynote Speaker and provided a province-wide context, focusing on the government direction for forest management and the resulting workforce trajectory.

The main focus of the session was to outline the deliberate steps needed in human resource development in order to respond to the long-standing and systemic issues influencing the forest sector, and help us manage through this transition period in a proactive manner.

Future of Forestry Think Tank: Human Resource summary

Documents and presentation links

  1. The Future of Forestry - Dr. Dominik Roeser and Dr. Lauri Sikanen
  2. The Future of Fibre - Tim Caldecott
  3. The Future of Fuel Management - Mike Gash and Jason Ward
  4. The Future Forest Worker - Taiho Krahn
  5. The Future of Wood Manufacturing - Dr. Guido Wimmers
  6. The Future of Bio-Refining - Dr. Rahul Singh
  7. The Future Labour Force - Barry Snowdon and Josh Pressey
2018 - Future of Forestry Think Tank

The City, in partnership with UNBC and CNC, hosted a technical working session with our local industry, the provincial government, researchers, and key industry stakeholders to explore the future of the forest sector in our region. This two-day think tank session at the North Cariboo Community Campus was held in conjunction with a visit from the Minister of Forests, who toured some of our local mills before opening the event.

The main premise of the session was to explore the possibility of using Quesnel and its surrounding forests as an incubator for generating ideas about how forest management in BC can be adapted to address climate change induced challenges and how our manufacturing processes can be reinvented to take better advantage of the kind of fibre BC’s central interior forests will provide in the future.

The intent is to put all of the discussions, suggestions, and recommendations into a report to present to the Minister of Forests and then work with the Province and various funding agencies to turn the recommendations into action as soon as possible.

Forestry Think Tank Summary

Documents and presentations links

Innovations in Manufacturing
  1. Wood Technology Solutions – Report For Quesnel (2020)
    This report is commissioned by the City of Quesnel and examines the upcoming changes, potential challenges, and some creative solutions arising out of the BC Step Code, this affects the Wood Construction Industry and related fields, such as the Engineered Wood Products industry.
  2. Wood Technology Solutions – List For Quesnel (2020)
    This report is commissioned by the City of Quesnel and is a companion document to the Wood Technology Solutions – Report For Quesnel and outlines is an overview of wood products and Engineered Wood Products (EWP) used for prefabrication globally.
  3. Forest-based bio-products: A review of potential pathways for the City of Quesnel (2021) 
    The City of Quesnel has put in place the Future of Forestry Think Tank (FFTT) in order to provide a roadmap to diversify the forest sector in the City, and mitigate or reduce the impact of increased ecological disturbances such as drought, forest fires and insect infestation. As part of this process, the City is undertaking a high-level market analysis and business case development.  This report was commissioned to summarize opportunities for bio-products from the forest other than the existing traditional pulp.
  4. Forest-based bio-products: Biofuels pathways for the City of Quesnel in a carbon-constrained world (2021) 
    This is a companion report to Forest-based bio-products: A review of potential pathways for the City of Quesnel (2021) because that report downplayed opportunities for biofuels projects given that there were no obvious signs of impending government action sufficiently robust to make these pathways economic in a world of cheap oil and natural gas. With record heat waves in Western Canada early in the summer of 2021, that situation is likely to change quickly; aggressive action by the US and the EU, both including plans for a carbon border tax on goods from countries with less strict carbon policies, is likely to put additional pressure on Canadian governments to act quickly. The City of Quesnel is well placed to show leadership in this new carbon-aware context.
  5. Forest Futures Study: Project Evaluation and Results for the City of Quesnel (2021) 
    Based on previous reports prepared for the City of Quesnel by the authors and others, the project objective was to identify and rank a selection of Best Bets for the City of Quesnel and the forest industry in the broader North Cariboo region. There is a major opportunity for the City of Quesnel to position itself as a green champion. This starts with playing a role in operationalising new BC government policies around new forest management and net zero carbon approaches. Locally, this means reducing GHG emissions in local heating systems, in the production of building systems or in new greenfield housing or light industry development. 
Community Forest Application

Lhtako Dené, Nazko, ?Esdilagh, and Lhoosk’uz Dené First Nations along with the City of Quesnel are in the process of applying for a community forest through the provincial Community Forest Application (CFA) process.

Quesnel Community Forest Agreement

Lhtako Dené, Nazko, ?Esdilagh, and Lhoosk’uz Dené First Nations along with the City of Quesnel are in the process of applying for a community forest through the provincial Community Forest Application (CFA) process.

A working group of elected officials from each of the 5 governments along with natural resource staff and technical experts have been advancing the application. 

The need to manage the surrounding landscape for long-term forest health and community resiliency has never been more critical. 

Recent mill closures, the dramatic reduction in the annual allowable cut, increased incidences of forest pests, and the unprecedented wildfires and floods have all underscored the need to ensure greater community resiliency through a CFA.

Community Forestry

At its core, community forestry is about local control over and enjoyment of the monetary and non-monetary benefits offered by local forest resources. In Quesnel, the community forest will be collectively managed by the four local First Nation governments along with the municipality.

Community forest tenure highlights

  • community safety from wildfire
  • recreation
  • tourism
  • stewardship for ecosystem health 
  • respect for traditional foods and medicines
  • small scale logging and manufacturing
  • industrial logging and manufacturing
  • sequestering carbon
  • wildlife habitat
  • education and training opportunities
  • innovative land management
  • innovative uses of forest fibre
  • watershed protection
  • meaningful employment
Proposed areas

The map hows the potential areas for the community forest that have been identified by the working group.

Public engagement

Phase 2 

In the Fall of 2022, another phase of public input will take place including a public meeting.

If you would like to know more, please contact Erin Robinson, Forestry Initiatives Manager

Phase 1  

In March 2022, the Technical Working Group launched the start of the phased public input process for the Community Forest Agreement application.  The first phase involved distributing 1000 brochures, 50 posters, and launching a survey and providing the opportunity for all citizens to call or email their additional questions. A total of 118 respondents weighed in with comments, questions and concerns about the community forest process.  For a full report of the survey responses and the other information collected during phase 1, please see the Public Input Report Spring 2022.

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