Wanted: 5,500 people who will plant trees to revitalize B.C. forests

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      It’s been a tough few years for B.C. forests.

      During the 2018 fiscal year, B.C. experienced 2,117 wildfires that collectively burned 1.4 million hectares. The year before, there were 1,353 wildfires in B.C. and 1.2 million hectares lost. Both 2017 and 2018 set records for hectares burned by significant margins. The 10-year average is just 269,702.

      Hoping to help our forests make a comeback, the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association (WFCA) has increased its annual goals for trees-planted and issued a call for more tree planters.

      “Going from this year’s 270-million seedlings to estimates as high as 318-million seedlings next year may be one of the largest volume leaps in the industry’s 50-year history,” reads a post published on the association’s website earlier this month. “Contractors are working now on recruiting, retaining, and training enough safe and competent workers for next year.”

      It’s explained there that the jump in how many seeds the industry hopes to drop into the ground this year is in response to the provincial government’s plan to integrate tree planting into its plans to mitigate the effects of climate change. B.C. scientists have similarly said that more-intense wildfires the province has experienced in recent years are in-part a result of anthropogenic climate change.

      “The reforestation sector cannot risk losing the public’s confidence by failing to meet all their reforestation expectations next year and beyond. That’s going to take some cooperation, innovation, and flexibility by everyone say contractors.”

      Tree planting is no breeze. A recent CBC News story describes demanding requirements and tough working conditions. That article also discuses the industry’s higher goals for trees planted this year. It states that B.C. will require 500 to 1,000 new hires in addition to the roughly 4,500 people who plant trees each year.

      "It's going to be a challenge for sure,” Timo Scheiber, CEO of Brinkman Reforestation, said quoted by CBC News. “A lot more trees coming to market this year than past years.”

      If you’re looking for a side hustle this year, why not plant trees? Anyone interested can contact WFCA for more information.