Sustainable Forest Management British Columbia Forest Facts March 2011 A fraction of 1% of British Columbia’s forests are harvested annually. world-leading forest practices and policies In the last decade, British Columbia has Forest companies operating in the province established itself as a leader in forest consider it critical to meet or exceed the high management through stringent forest standards demanded by their customers, policies and innovative forest practices that the community and the government. They continue to evolve to meet current needs and are world leaders in third-party certification, reflect the most recent scientific knowledge. which provides added assurance of sustainable forest management. British Columbia’s Forest and Range Practices Act is a world-leading model of forest Canada and the United States manage management regulation that has long been forests sustainably, ensuring they are there advocated by policy experts. It legislates for future generations to be used for the on-the-ground results rather than process, many things that society values; including and is built on a foundation of professional recreation, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and skills and accountability. forest products. All major forest certification programs in North America are recognized by companies and governments around the world.
regulating forest practicesAbout 95 per cent of British Columbia’s forests specifies requirements for construction,are publicly owned, and priorities for the maintenance and deactivation of forest roads.use of these lands are developed throughcommunity based strategic land and resource British Columbia is well positioned to move tomanagement planning. results-based regulations for many reasons, including a well-established public processBritish Columbia’s results-based forest that sets management objectives for publicregulations ensure public lands provide a forests and skilled resource professionals.mix of benefits such as timber, recreational It has a multi-faceted compliance andopportunities, water quality, wildlife habitat, enforcement regime that concentrates on theand countless others identified through the highest-risk activities, with both routine andpublic planning process. The Forest and Range random audits, with publicly reported results.Practices Act is designed to deliver a carefulbalance of economic and environmental An independent academic study found thatbenefits across the landscape simultaneously, British Columbia has some of the most stringentand not one to the exclusion of the other. forest practices regulations in the world.The Forest and Range Practices Act requiresthat licensees prepare forest stewardshipplans that show how operations will beconsistent with objectives set by governmentfor soils, timber, wildlife, water, fish,biodiversity and cultural heritage resources.The plans also indicate generally where forestdevelopment will be taking place. Beforegovernment approves the plan, companiesmust invite and consider public and FirstNation comments.In addition, the regulatory regime specifiesrequirements to conserve soils, providesustainable reforestation, and to protectriparian areas, fish and fish habitat,watersheds, biodiversity, and wildlife. Itensuring a sustainable harvestBritish Columbia’s chief forester is required The timber supply review is the foundationby law to determine how much wood can of British Columbia’s sustainable forestbe harvested from each of the province’s management, considering ecological values70 management units. This timber supply while allowing stable economic benefits forreview process is independent, and involves a communities.detailed technical analysis, public commentand consideration of forest resource valuessuch as wildlife and fish habitat, soils, waterand recreational opportunities. British Columbia’s world-The determinations are required at least once leading model of forestevery five years, which ensures that harvestlevels are based on the latest information, management regulationpractices and government policies, both delivers a careful balance ofeconomic and environmental. The chiefforester can postpone a timber supply economic and environmentalreview if circumstances have not changed benefits across the landscape.significantly or set a new harvest level earlierto deal with abnormal situations such as aninsect epidemic. BC Forest Facts | Sustainable Forest Management
maintaining natural forestsForest companies licensed to harvest public land on a site and combining this with natural from natural wild stands and seed orchards – itin British Columbia reforest each site with native regeneration. This forest management does not use any genetically modified trees.species suited to meet local and anticipated approach means British Columbia does notfuture ecological conditions. They remain have intensively managed forests that meetresponsible for a harvested area until there is the United Nations Food and Agricultureassurance it will grow into a new, healthy forest. Organization’s definition of plantation. Forest companies must reforestA diverse forest ecosystem is more resilient Each year about 200 million seedlings are sites they log on public land,and supports habitat for a wider variety planted in British Columbia to reforest areasof species. This resilience is one way British after logging, wildfire or insect infestations. and remain responsible for aColumbia is responding to the changing The province planted its six billionth seedling harvested area until there isecological conditions expected with in 2008.climate change. assurance it will grow into a British Columbia is a world leader in research new, healthy forest.Resource managers maintain diversity, often aimed at finding the best trees for forestby planting three to five native tree species regeneration. It uses superior seed and seedlingsmeeting the needs of each siteLong before a tree is cut, resource professionals sites with species such as lodgepole pine harvesting is permitted, resource managersidentify the silvicultural system that best and Douglas-fir that thrive in full sunlight. make sure it follows the pattern of the naturalmeets the unique needs of each site. A When used appropriately, clearcutting is less landscape to reduce the visual impact duringsilvicultural system covers all activities from disruptive because the site is left to grow the time it takes the forest to regenerate.early planning through harvesting, replanting once it is regenerated. Stumps, branchesand tending the new trees. and fallen trees are left on the forest floor after harvesting to maintain biodiversity andWhile it is important to achieve the highest provide habitat.commercial value from any harvesting, it is justas important to conserve all forest values. This Other harvesting techniques that removemeans identifying reserves to protect scenery some of the trees, such as retention orand keep silt out of waterways, timing the selection cutting, are used in specificharvest to avoid soil damage, ordering seedling situations including areas where soils are drystock well in advance, and much more. or terrain is unstable, or where clearcutting may affect scenery, wildlife habitat, old-Clearcutting, which removes most of the growth areas or other values.trees from an area and leaves patches andbuffers to protect other values, is often used Some of British Columbia’s most beautifulbecause it is best suited to the ecology of landscapes are protected. In many areas where For more information on sustainable forest management and other forest facts, visit www.naturallywood.com
protecting wildlife continually improving sources practicesBritish Columbia is home to 1,100 species of ministry of forests, lands and naturalbirds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles; The Forest and Range Practices Act is resource operationssome found nowhere else in Canada. Under designed to maintain British Columbia’s highits Identified Wildlife Management Strategy, environmental standards while encouraging Forest and Range Practices Actspecial consideration is provided for 85 innovative forest practices. The provincial www.for.gov.bc.ca/codewildlife species, subspecies and populations government created a science-based Forest Forest and Range Evaluation Programthat have been legally established as species and Range Evaluation Program to ensure www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/frepat risk under the Forest and Range Practices practices under the act achieve sustainable Compliance and EnforcementAct. Under the strategy, government officials forest management and to support www.for.gov.bc.ca/hendesignate and map wildlife habitat areas continuous improvement. Forest Harvestingfor a particular species or plant community, www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/publications/00062and legally establish specific management Each year, the list of priority evaluation The State of British Columbia’s Forestspractices that must be followed. questions that guides the monitoring and www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/sof evaluation activities is updated with input Forests For TomorrowBritish Columbia currently has more than from resource professionals, researchers www.forestsfortomorrow.ca1,186 approved wildlife habitat areas, covering and the public. Experts will analyze data Timber Supply Reviewa total of more than 1 million hectares (2.5 collected at hundreds of randomly selected www.for.gov.bc.ca/htsmillion acres), as well as more than 6.2 million sites across the province to identify issues andhectares (15.3 million acres) set aside to recommend ways to improve forest practices. ministry of environmentmanage winter habitat for ungulates such as The results are peer reviewed and final reportsmountain goats or Stone sheep. made publicly available. Identified Wildlife Management Strategy www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/frpa/iwmsAbout 50% of wood products exported from Canada come from theProvince of British Columbia’s sustainably-managed forests. Thispublication is part of the ‘Forest Facts’ series, published by ForestryInnovation Investment. Visit www.naturallywood.com for details. British Columbia wood. Sustainable by nature. Innovative by design.Consider the environment – use paper from responsibly-managed sources.