VICTORIA, B.C. - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has allocated $150 million for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to plant tens of millions more trees, which will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia.

“This is an investment in our forests, in B.C.’s rural communities – and the world’s clean air,”  Premier Clark said. “This initiative is another example of how we do business in B.C., striking a balance between environmental protection and economic priorities. That’s the approach that has built Canada’s leading economy, and a world-recognized leader on climate action.”

The $150 million will be transferred in the 2016-17 fiscal year as a lump-sum payment to the independent Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to advance environmental stewardship and, in particular, focus on reforestation initiatives throughout the province. This is in addition to the $85 million government allocated in 2015-16 to the society.

“The rehabilitation and reforestation of damaged forest stands will provide significant greenhouse gas benefits and increase the use of low-quality fibre,” said Jim Snetsinger, vice-chair, Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia. “The society is pleased to receive this funding and we will work with government agencies, First Nations, forest licensees and stakeholders to achieve these important objectives.”

This one-time investment builds on existing programs within the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to support the implementation of the Forest Carbon Initiative. This initiative includes a suite of activities under B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan, which target the reduction of carbon emissions in the forest sector and the capture of carbon through the restoration of forests damaged by disease and wildfire.

“Since 2005, we’ve invested over $445 million in reforestation through Forests for Tomorrow,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson. “Today’s funding will build on those efforts and ensure our children can enjoy the environmental and economic benefits we enjoy from our forests.”

As mentioned in the Climate Leadership Plan, a dedicated forest rehabilitation program can help support over 3,000 jobs over the next five years. A 10-year program can support over 20,000 jobs and lead to annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of up to 11.7 million tonnes by 2050 meeting both provincial and federal targets.

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