Two Merritt-based companies are revolutionizing sustainable forest management in British Columbia.

In a news release, Stuwix Resources Joint Venture (SRJV) and Valley Carriers have announced that they will be working together to make a better use of leftover forest materials, such as forest residuals.

“With the support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) funding for a Bush Grind Project, the partners aim to turn these residual materials into valuable biomass products,” the release says.

According to the release, the BioHub Pilot Project is centred around Stuwix’s transition from the traditional cut-to-length forestry practice to now full-length tree harvesting, moving toward a full tree utilization and zero-waste approach. 

“Through the Bush Grinding project, forest residual will be ground instead of being left behind and burned in slash piles, helping to reduce waste and avoid greenhouse gas emissions,” the release reads. “This ground fibre will be transported to a green energy facility in Merritt.”

Stuwix Resources Joint Venture’s approach in forest management reflects the cultural, environmental and social values of the eight First Nations communities that manage the company. The company’s goal is to promote healthy ecosystems and communities while integrating traditional uses and practices.

As for Valley Carriers, the company has been working with forest residuals for 60 years and offers a large fleet of trucks and trailers to haul all types of wood residuals that can be used for multiple purposes, such as sawdust and wood shavings for farms, wood chips for playgrounds.

Lindsay Tighe, general manager of SRJV, said the project is the result of the community’s desire to see better-managed forests.

“Our community strongly believes we need to better utilize the resources that the forest provides,” Tighe said. “Without the partnership with FESBC, we wouldn’t be able to pursue the transition to full fibre utilization. Their support is critical to enable our operations to adapt to this more sustainable approach.”

In the release, Gord Pratt, FESBC senior manager, added the society is proud to support the initiatives of both companies in finding ways to increase the use of forest fibre.

“Exploring new ways to optimize the delivery and use of forest fibre is long overdue and will only help the economy of the Merritt area,” he said. “Lessons learned here will help other regions of the province and assist in building a more stable and diverse forest industry which is critical for the future of rural B.C.”