Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun, Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A coastal logging company has been lauded by the independent Forest Practices Board for its innovative harvesting practices that leave a lighter footprint on the environment.

An audit report on Triumph Timber’s coastal operations marks the first audit by
the forest watchdog of a company using more eco-friendly logging practices on a
large scale.

The audit casts coastal logging, which has long been blamed for damaging ecosystems, in a different light.

"We still get tangled in a lot of bad press," said Triumph Timber president Tom
Olsen. "What this points to is that Triumph Timber continues to lead in the
implementation of ecosystem-based management, and is open to experimenting
with innovative new harvesting methods.

Triumph has been logging on the north and central coast — an area termed the Great
Bear Rainforest by environmentalists — for seven years. During the year-long audit
period, it logged 115,000 cubic metres of timber, as much as can be carried by 3,000 logging trucks.

The audit was conducted between August 2005 and August 2006.

Triumph used ecosystem-based management in its operations, an adaptive approach to logging that manages human impacts to ensure a healthy ecosystem remains behind.
Triumph uses variable retention, which Olsen described as leaving anywhere from
30 per cent to 50 per cent of a stand behind, depending on the values to be retained. He described the approach as "adaptive" — meaning that as the company learns more
about the impacts of leaving trees behind, it is adapting its practices to ensure a
functioning ecosystem.

In some cases, that may mean larger openings to permit more sunlight to reach
the ground, he said.

The board audit concluded that Triumph is in compliance with provincial regulations,
but also says it has gone beyond in its use of ecosystem-based management.

Specifically, the forest watchdog singles out Triumph’s use of barges to land logs flown from heli-logging sites rather than the standard procedure of dropping the logs in the ocean.

"Triumph’s practice of using offshore log barges eliminates the need for log storage
sites, log dumps or booming grounds, thereby minimizing log handling in the water," the report states. "This method also reduces the amount of woody debris left in
the water and thus reduces potential for operations to affect marine mammals and
their habitat."

The board also cited Triumph for developing working relationships with the region’s first nations.

© The Vancouver Sun 2007