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Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
27 November 2020
Volume 20 Issue 15

Warning: Some facts may not be available for publication due to upstream disruptions in the information supply chain.

MFLNRORD Cabinet Posts and
Parliamentary Secretary Announced


Where there was one large ministry, now there looks like three…
From left to right: Katrine Conroy, Nathan Cullen, Roly Russell

There will be no more letters or ambit added to MFLNRORD following the announcement yesterday of our BC Government’s new Cabinet. But there will be two new ministers and a parliamentary secretary to cover all the ground the BC Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development encompasses. Katrine Conroy has been in politics since 2015 as the NDP MLA Kootenay West. She will be the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Former federal politician Nathan Cullen, who worked with our sector as a strategic consultant this spring in dealing with the pandemic, and who won former forests Minister Doug Donaldson’s Stikine riding, will be the Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. The newly elected Roly Russell MLA Boundary-Similkameen will be in support as Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. We will know more about this apparent division of duties within the ministry once we have a chance to see Premier Horgan’s mandate letters to his Cabinet.

WFCA 2021 Conference:
You Think COVID-19 is Just a Health Threat?


As the COVID-19 virus attacks us it’s creating opportunities for cyber criminals to do the same. Not only do victims lose money by having to pay the ransom, downtime losses to them and others in their supply chain accumulate as well.

Almost 200 million ransomware attacks on businesses occurred in the first nine months of this year representing a worrying increase over 2019 corresponding to the advent of the pandemic. That number represents a rising wave of ransomware crime as criminals increase their attacks and their demands with payments averaging $233,817 in Q3 2020. That is a 31% increase over what victims paid in the previous quarter and a quadrupling since the same time a year ago. Cyber criminals are democratic in that they don’t discriminate between small businesses or large ones. Just how vulnerable reforestation and forestry businesses might be to this growing threat will be one of the feature workshops at next February’s WFCA Annual Conference, Expo, and AGM February 10th – 12th, 2021. Ron Borsholm, Senior Manager, Cyber Security Services, MNP will lead a workshop for conference participants on how to assess their cyber security risks and how to take action to defend themselves, their businesses, and their customers.

Work Continues to Find Plastic Flagging
Alternatives for Reforestation


A pilot is underway this fall to spray some crops with high visibility chalk before storage in an attempt to make this seedling marking method a more practical alternative to tagging seedlings with plastic flagging in the field.

Keeping seedlings in sight is critical for workers to maintain proper spacing and density as they plant ground often covered with slash or greening up with annual herbaceous plants and brush regrowth. At the same time crews are often told to “hide” their seedlings by putting them near stumps or obstacles to avoid grazing or trampling by cattle or other wild browsers. And it’s been decades since we used to burn blocks wholesale, which, in some ecosystems, benefits seedlings while making it easier for workers to see what they’re doing. This confluence of circumstances is where all the plastic flagging comes in as an expedient way for planters and supervisors to keep track of their work. But as we have reported before, using plastic flagging to mark seedlings is not a sustainable practice. There are concerns about the threat to the province’s cattle herd and wildlife, public notice of the enduring litter, and the general hazard waste plastic poses to life on the planet. As part of efforts to find a remedy to this problem the makers of Tree Chalk Spray www.treechalk.com  continue their unflagging efforts to un-flag trees by marking them with highly visible chalk. They report that pilot applications, so far, reveal no hindrance to seedling performance after being treated, as weather soon rinses the seedlings after planting. Some impracticalities to do with applying the chalk in the field are being dealt with by experimenting with treating seedlings in the nurseries before storage so they arrive on site pre-pigmented. At the same time the WFCA is working with wood fibre researchers to come up with some compostable materials as alternatives to plastic flagging. Watch this space as a recently struck industry and government working group looks at ways to eventually eliminate marking trees with plastic flagging across the province.