As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2014 compliance audit program, the BC Timber Sales (BCTS)  program and timber sale licence (TSL) holders in the Morice Timber Supply Area (TSA) portion of the BCTS Babine Business Area, in the Nadina District, was randomly selected for audit. The audit assessed all timber harvesting, roads, silviculture, protection activities, and associated planning, carried out by both BCTS and TSL holders over two years, commencing in July 2012.

The Morice TSA is situated on the western edge of British Columbia’s central interior plateau, extending from the most northerly tip of Babine Lake in the north to Ootsa and Whitesail Lakes in the south. During the two-year audit period, BCTS harvested about 667 000 cubic metres of timber, in accordance with their forest stewardship plan.

The audit found that planning and field activities undertaken by BCTS and the TSL holders complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.

As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2013 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Nadina Resource District as the location for an audit. Within the district, the Board selected non-replaceable forest licence (NRFL) A72921, held by 639881 BC Ltd., owned by Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The audit assessed all timber harvesting, roads, silviculture, protection activities, and associated planning, carried out between September 2011 and October 2013.

639881 BC Ltd. conducted its operations within a 50-kilometre radius of the community of Burns Lake. During the two-year audit period, the licensee harvested approximately 121 704 cubic metres of timber, primarily to salvage trees killed by mountain pine beetle.

The audit found that planning and field activities undertaken by 639881 BC Ltd. complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, with one exception, a significant non-compliance related to the control of invasive plants.

The audit also found an unsound forest practice pertaining to soil disturbance and an area of improvement related to annual reporting to the government.

The audit found that fire protection activities undertaken by 639881 BC Ltd. failed to comply with the Wildfire Act and related regulations, and in particular with requirements to assess and abate fire hazards following harvesting.

As part of the Forest Practices Board’s 2013 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the Nadina Resource District as the location for an audit. Within the district, the Board selected non-replaceable forest licence (NRFL) A66762, held by Burns Lake Specialty Wood Ltd. The audit assessed all timber harvesting, roads, silviculture, protection activities, and associated planning, carried out between September 2011 and October 2013.

Burns Lake Specialty Wood conducted its operations within a 50-kilometre radius of the community of Burns Lake. During the two-year audit period, the licensee harvested approximately 90 682 cubic metres of timber, primarily to salvage trees killed by mountain pine beetle.

The audit found that planning and field activities undertaken by Burns Lake Specialty Wood complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, with two exceptions:

  1. A significant non-compliance related to planting appropriate seedlings.
  2. A significant non-compliance related to the control of invasive plants.

The audit found that fire protection activities undertaken by Burns Lake Specialty Wood Ltd. failed to comply with the Wildfire Act and related regulations, and in particular with requirements to assess and abate fire hazards following harvesting.

In September 2011, the Board conducted a full-scope compliance audit of forest planning and practices on Babine Forest Products’ (BFP) Forest Licence A16823. This is the first time this forest licence has been audited by the Board. The audit assessed over 80 cutblocks and close to 300 kilometres of road activities and obligations, as well as operational planning, and found that BFP complied with the legislated requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, as well as the Lakes District Land and Resource Management Plan and the Lakes North Sustainable Resource Management Plan.

British Columbia is engulfed in a province-wide mountain pine beetle outbreak. Salvaging value from the dead pine trees is a government priority. To facilitate the salvage effort, government increased the allowable annual cut (AAC) by 80 percent in the three most severely affected timber supply areas; the Lakes, Prince George and Quesnel TSAs, which are also the study areas for this project.

The increased AAC led to concerns about the stewardship of non-timber values such as wildlife and biodiversity. To accommodate these concerns, the “timber uplift” (AAC increase) was to be accompanied by a “conservation uplift” (an increase in retention of mature forest structure in harvested areas).

An audit of the Burns Lake Community Forest in the Nadina Forest District has determined that the operation complied with forest practices legislation. The audit found generally good practices on the ground, but identified four cutblocks with excessive soil disturbance.

The special investigation compared reforestation efforts in the Quesnel, Nadina and Vanderhoof forest districts with the other forest districts in the Interior of B.C. The reforestation of areas most heavily affected by B.C.’s mountain pine beetle infestation is as prompt, or quicker, than in areas not affected, or affected to a lesser degree. An increase in mixed species planting, as opposed to pure pine plantations were reported along with good reforestation efforts in the three mountain pine beetle districts in these areas.

The Burns Lake Indian Band complied with forest practices legislation on non-replaceable forest licence A72919, while harvesting beetle infested stands located southeast of Burns Lake, in the Nadina Forest District. The band is focused on public awareness and is actively involved to promote Band’s harvest planning and practices among other forest users in this area.

BCTS and timber sale licence holders in the Lakes TSA, located near Burns Lake, complied in all significant respects with forest practices legislation, with the exception of two minor instances of poor harvesting practices causing soil disturbance. BCTS took immediate steps to address the soil disturbance findings.

A resident of Smithers asked the Board to investigate the unauthorized construction of a cabin and an ATV trail on Sinclair Mountain. The complainant asserts that the construction of the trail and cabin contravened the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and that, despite the contraventions, the Ministry of Forests did not take appropriate enforcement action.