PFLA Newsletter (Summer 2014)


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The summer 2014 edition of Private Forest Matters—a quarterly newsletter distributed to members of the Private Forest Landowners Association. Includes: highlights from the recent field tour; details about PFLA's top policy priorities; an update on the Crititcal Wildlife MOU signed with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment, Brushing tips for forest owners, and the Private Forestry Recognition Award recipient.

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PFLA Newsletter (Summer 2014)

  1. 1. Private Forest Matters PFLA’s 4 Key Policy Priorities Hot on the heels of another successful annual general meeting, PFLA wasted no time getting back to business and moving forward with what we see as a strong mandate and clear direction from the membership. Consistent with what we heard earlier this spring at the Hometown Meetings, we’re inspired and confident you’ve given us a solid endorsement to focus the organiza- tion’s resources on the policy areas most pressing and important to forest owners. Early in June, we met with Minister Tho- mson — Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) — to highlight the ass- ociation’s key concerns. We’re also working with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development because these ministries are involved in regulatory matters that affect our lands as well. At the federal level, we continue to engage with elected officials and civil servants on similar policy concerns related to international trade, migratory birds and species at risk. Thanks to Chris Lee from the Canadian Association of Forest Owners (CAFO) for his update on federal issues at PFLA’s forestry forum in June. Below you’ll find the key messages PFLA has developed to advocate on behalf of forest owners. Critical Wildlife Habitat — Crown land first, Compensation and Cooperation • PFLA promotes and participates in the responsible stewardship of wildlife habitat; however, we encourage government to respect private and productive lands and focus first on Crown land with the least socio- economic significance when looking for wildlife habitat to preserve. • As is standard practice when private assets are encumbered to pursue public goals, landowners deserve fair treatment and compensation if it’s necessary to restrict private land use for wildlife habitat purposes. • PFLA is also working with all levels of government to better promote the current assessment and planning processes and stand–level practices we have in place to protect wildlife habitat on private forest land. Fair Trade for Logs — N102 and Log Export Restrictions • In a world of increasing costs and complexity, British Columbia needs international log pricing to sustain responsible forest stewardship. • To date, BC’s log export restriction policies have fostered a subsidy dependent timber-processing sector Contact Information P.O. Box 48092 Victoria, BC V8Z 7H5 Tel: 250 381 7565 Fax: 250 381 7409 Rod Bealing - Executive Director Ina Shah - Office Manager Lisa Weeks - Communications Manager Continued on page 2 Summer 2014 In This Issue PFLA’s 4 Key Policy Priorities 1-2 Forestry Field Tour Highlights 2-3 Critical Wildlife Habitat MOU 3 Out and About with the PFLA 3 Private Forestry Recognition Award 4 Stand Tending 101: Brushing Basics 4 Northern goshawk chicks in a second-growth forest on private land near Comox Lake. Photo credit: Grant Eldridge
  2. 2. Pg 2 where domestic log prices are often below what it costs to sustainably produce logs. • Free trade in logs and lumber is necessary and inevitable. It’s only a matter of time before our competitors, customers and the international community force B.C. to open up log supplies from private land to free trade. This will have significant consequences for domestic mills if they’re not given sufficient time to adjust and evolve. • PFLA is promoting transitional policy measures to achieve the goal of a domestic log market for private forest owners built around international pricing for logs. Initiating transitional measures, at the earliest opportunity, is the most effective means to help BC timber processors adjust and evolve into sustainable, globally competitive businesses. Property Taxation and Succession Planning • Worldwide, societies recognize that carrying costs for land, especially property taxes, have a crucial impact on the viability of forest management as a land use option. • Similarly, British Columbia needs a competitive property tax model in order to encourage forest management on private land. The Managed Forest Program is intended to embody this necessary element. • There is room for improved clarity in the area of succession planning and the eligibility of smaller properties to enter, or continue to participate in, the program. PFLA is working with all levels of government to achieve this goal. Provincial Jurisdiction for Forest Management Activities • Responsible resource management is the backbone of British Columbia. The province consistently recognizes responsible resource stewardship as a provincial priority. • Despite clear provincial jurisdiction, and consistently effective stewardship measures, some local governments have expressed an interest in having more influence over the management of private forest land. • In the example of managed forests on Galiano Island, it’s clear the provincial policy intent is to enable forest owners to reside on their land, as every other forest owner can in British Columbia, but the local government is reluctant to recognize the province’s jurisdiction. • In addition, despite a positive track record with respect to maintaining water quality, and strong working relationships between owners and water purveyors, some local governments want increased involvement in land use decisions for areas that supply water to their communities. • Forest owners are responding to this interest in more local involvement, and ensuring protection of key public environmental values, by educating local governments about how we manage our land, what provincial and federal regulations are already in place and working closely with local governments to identify local values and work together to protect them. What do you get when you mix engaging presenters, interesting locations, thoughtful participants and just-right weather condi- tions? Another fantastic forestry field tour! That’s right, PFLA is happy to report the 2014 forest field tour was a rollicking succ- ess. We owe a long list of thank-yous to all the folks who contributed to make the day informative and enjoyable for everyone. The first thank you goes to Phred Judson without whom we’d be nowhere, literally. Phred has safely and enthusiastically transported PFLA tour participants year after year — over highways, along forested roads and across countless kilometers — to see one inspiring example of private forest stewardship after another. This year was no exception. Participants loaded the bus at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort and Conference Centre, bright and early Wednesday morning, keen to reach our first destination: The Coastal Fire Centre in Errington, B.C. The Coastal Fire Centre is one of six regional wildland fire centres operated by the B.C. Forest Service’s Wildfire Management Branch. Derek Lefler warmly greeted tour participants to the fire centre before we divided into two groups for a detailed tour. The first group, led by Forest Protection Assistant, Richard Heard, was treated to a look at the equipment and resources fire fighters use to respond to wildfires. The second group headed inside for a firsthand look at the fire control room where Catherine Morrison and Brent Anderson provided a detailed overview of fire response information, mapping and communication technologies. Our next shout out of thanks goes to Morgan Kennah and Ken Epps from Island Timberlands for organizing the Englishman River Watershed fish hatchery portion of the tour. Guest presenters provided fas- cinating information about fish habitat restoration and monitoring on the Englishman River. Watch the PFLA blog for more details and photos from this section of the tour. In the meantime, thanks to: • Mike Donnelly, Regional Water Manager for the Regional District of Nanaimo • Dave Davies, Community Advisor with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans • James Craig, B.C. Conservation Foundation It’s settled, the bar for future PFLA lunches has been set suitably high. Thanks to Marc Fortin (along with Nora Berg and Janet Fortin for their skills on the grill) tour participants were graciously hosted to a delicious BBQ lunch of certified BC beef, raised on Vancouver Island, at the Forest Lakewood BC headquarters. Along with good food, great company, stunning views and the occasional bear wandering across the field, participants were treated to a wood splitting demonstration with the impressive “blockbuster”machinery Forest Lakewood BC uses for the firewood aspect of their Continued from cover Forestry Field Tour Highlights
  3. 3. Pg 3 It’s been a little over a year since PFLA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment regarding critical wildlife habitat. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is an agreement that reinforces working relationships and helps establish a frame- work for information sharing, cooperation and collaboration in matters of mutual interest. This particular MOU reflects a commitment on behalf of all parties to promote the “made-in-BC”approach to the protection and management of critical wildlife habitat on private managed forest land. Why the MOU is important to forest owners Increasingly, public demand places pressure on government to demons- trate appropriate steps are being taken to protect endangered species. In the context of an evolving sphere of species at risk protection, the province maintains management of critical wildlife habitat as a provincial priority. PFLA realizes the necessity of improving awareness, at both the federal and provincial levels, of the contributions landowners already make to critical wild- life habitat. Equally important, is the need to ensure appropriate distinction is made between Crown land and private land. Rod Bealing explains,“It’s about telling the story of what’s already happening on private land rather than coming up with an idea about how to fix a problem.” Critical Wildlife Habitat and the PMFL Act The critical wildlife habitat provisions of the Private Managed Forest Land Act and the Private Managed Forest Land Regulation reflect a commitment forest owners made to work with government; to enter into agreements for the protection of critical wildlife habitat on private managed forest land if necessary. The policy intent in British Columbia is a two-step process: 1. If a species is deemed threatened or endangered there is a structure in place that compels the Crown to look for critical wildlife habitat on Crown land first. 2. If it’s determined the only land available for the survival of that species is on private land, then the Crown has a duty to reach an agreement with the landowner that provides some measure of compensation for any land use interruption, modified practices or deferred harvesting. A Positive Step for Forest Owners To date, the MOU process and associated working group is a productive, engaging and positive experience for forest owners. Landowners are working with government in an ongoing, healthy dialogue about what’s best for the creatures, how to meet their habit needs and how to balance the needs of wildlife with the needs of forest owners, the province and communities. Opportunities for Improvement In terms of tangible outcomes, we hope to identify opportunities for improvement at the landscape level with increased cooperation and information sharing between owners, as well as between owners and government. We also hope to identify practices to improve habitat value at the stand level—practical measures to help raise awareness about these creatures and their habitat needs. business. Look for the newly minted Island Valley Farms logo at a store near you. The afternoon portion of the tour wrap- ped up with a visit to Woodlot 0031, near Coombs, where Walker Addison and Ed Hughes toured participants to a number of sites on the property. Discussions and information ranged from: • Commercial thinning • Recreational activities and trail construction • Coastal Douglas-fir rare and endangered • Regeneration activities • Harvest planning • Pruning and browse control A big PFLA thanks to Ed and Walker for an engaging and informative afternoon; stand by for more information and photos from this portion of the tour. One final arm-waving shout of appreciation goes to Steve Lackey for all his help and hard work organizing this year’s tour. Update: Critical Wildlife Habitat MOU Out and About with PFLA 146th Annual Cowichan Exhibition September 5-7, 2014 Zucchini Racing! PFLA is pumped to sponsor the 4th annual zucchini racing competition at the Cowichan Exhibition. UBCM 2014 Convention September 22-26, 2014 PFLA looks forward to connecting with municipal representatives at the UBCM convention in Whistler, B.C.
  4. 4. Pg 4 Stand Tending 101: Brushing Basics Brushing is the first, and in some ways most important, stand treatment you’ll carry out. If you’re not familiar with the term: brushing describes the removal of unwanted vegetation (brush) from the immediate area surrounding your seedlings. Competition for light, nutrients and water from other vegetation at the early stage in a tree’s life (2 to 5 years after regeneration) can pose a real threat to growth and survival. By reducing competition at the beginning of the crop cycle you can help your trees become firmly established. The best form of brushing is no brushing at all. With careful planning and a few simple practices you can significantly minimize the amount of brush you have to manage. Here are a few suggestions: • Plant trees as soon as possible after harvesting – this gives seedlings a head start on brush and dramatically increases their chances of survival. • Remove the seed source of undesirable species (red alder and hemlock are particularly prolific seed- producers). If you’re not planning to reforest with these species, remove mature seed-producing trees to the fullest extent possible. • Minimize ground disturbance. Seeds thrive in a‘seed bed’. By using designated skid trails, harvesting on snow pack or working with equipment that minimizes ground disturbance you limit the amount of‘seed bed’you create for unwanted brush species. What to do if brush problems arise? Despite your best efforts to prevent brush problems before they arise, you should be prepared to carry out brushing if pro- blems do develop. Brushing is achieved by a number of treatment methods and techniques, including: manual, biological, chemical and mechanical. Manual brushing Manual brushing is often selected for sensitive sites, like streams or recreation areas, or when brush is a problem only in specific areas. It’s usually done during the spring or summer months when the brush species are most sensitive to treatment. Manual brushing is labour-intensive and can be expensive if you have a large area or need to repeat brushing treatments. The primary purpose of manual brushing is to encourage light to reach seedlings. The goal is to assist the seedlings to grow strong, healthy root systems and stems that allow them to fend for themselves. Timing is crucial. You want to brush sufficiently early in the growing season to allow your tree seedlings time to respond. Biological brushing In some areas, the grazing of sheep is still used as a means of brush control. If you choose grazing as a brush control technique you should also consider: • Wildlife concerns, either through displacement or predator conflict. • Water contamination if livestock are allowed direct access to streams and lakes. • Soil erosion, compaction or displacement due to overcrowding too many animals into one area for an extended period of time. • Transfer of undesirable plant species to forest sites. Chemical Brushing Where brush is widespread or persistent, herbicides are often used as the most effective control method. It’s important to give careful consideration to the choice of herbicide and the method and timing of application. Relatively few herbicides are available for forest use and registration changes so check with a local silviculturist, as well as the district office of the Ministry of Forests when considering herbicide application. Mechanical Brushing Mechanical brushing methods are most commonly used during site preparation to remove brush prior to regeneration. Heavy equipment such as excavators (hoes), tractors or skidders are mounted with special plows or cutters to clear brush and prepare the seedbed. What method of brush control is right for your stands? Finding the best method for your woodland depends on site and stand conditions, as well as environmental factors. In assessing the situation be sure to look at both the brush species and crop tree species. Consider things like: • How fast does the brush grow? What’s the maximum height it will reach? Versus: How fast are your seedlings growing? • What is your crop tree’s ability to withstand competition? • Do you have enough seedlings to meet stocking standards, or should you carry out a whole site treatment and start the establishment phase (reforestation) over again? Thanks again to the creators of Managing Your Woodland: A Non-forester’s Guide to Small-scale Forestry in British Columbia for the information we’ve excerpted above. Private Forestry Recognition Award At our recent AGM in June, Dave Lindsay, fish and wildlife biologist with TimberWest, received the PFLA Stewardship Award for his contribution and dedication to protecting wildlife and managing habitat on private forest land. Dave has a deep knowledge and understanding, infectious passion for fish and wildlife, and priceless wisdom gained from decades of practical experience observing what nature needs, what works and what doesn’t when it comes to managing wildlife habitat. We are lucky to call Dave a valuable supporter of PFLA and our programs. Dave was involved with the development of our best management practices (BMP) program, and as a regular participant and contributor to forest field tours and training workshops, he not only helps forest owners, forestry professionals and loggers to understand the habitat needs of various species, but he also helps government representatives to see the processes, practices, approaches and commitments that go into managing habitats — streams, birds, creatures — on private land. In a burst of poetic prose, Rod Bealing described Dave Lindsay as,“at times, the thin red line standing between responsible forest stewardship and the tyranny of unnecessary regulation.” A huge PFLA thanks and buckets of appreciation to Dave for all his hard work and contributions over the years.