Forestry licensees and BC Timber Sales (BCTS) have a legal obligation under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) to regrow stands of trees after logging. Reforestation efforts must result in successful regeneration of trees and growth to healthy maturity. This is important both to ensure a sustainable flow of economically valuable timber into the future and to maintain broader environmental and community values in BC’s forests.
Interior Douglas-fir (IDF) forests in BC’s southern interior support a number of different uses and values, including timber, range, wildlife and species at risk, recreation, and visual quality. Some IDF ecosystems are often dominated by Douglas-fir trees of mixed age and size with a grassy understory. A common species for planting after logging is lodgepole pine because seedlings have a high survival rate and grow quickly above competing vegetation. Tree species composition in these ecosystems is reported to be shifting from fir to pine with potential implications for timber and non-timber values.
The investigation examined tree species composition trends, assessed licensee compliance with reforestation requirements and assessed the effectiveness of reforestation choices and government direction in establishing and maintaining resilient stands. Focus is on reforestation activities in the Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan, and Kootenay Boundary Natural Resource Regions in areas logged under FRPA between 2008 and 2017. It includes forest licences, tree farm licences, woodlots, First Nations woodland licences, and community forests.
In June 2019, the Board audited BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) forestry operations in the Quesnel Natural Resource District portion of BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) Cariboo – Chilcotin Business Area. The audit was a full scope compliance audit that included those operations that took place over a one-year period starting in June 2018. During this period BCTS harvested about 450,000 cubic metres.
With respect to BCTS activities, the audit identified a significant non-compliance for not ensuring a road and three bridges were structurally sound and safe for industrial use; a significant non-compliance for not reporting silviculture activities; and an unsound practice due to inadequate record documents for constructed bridges.
The audit also identified a significant non-compliance for not having a water delivery system on two cutblocks; an unsound practice for not following the recommendations in a terrain field assessment; and an opportunity for improvement for not completing fire hazard assessments. All these findings are related to timber sale licensees’ activities.
With the exception of these findings, the audit found that operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction and maintenance, silviculture, and fire protection activities complied in all significant respects with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Wildfire Act and related regulations.