The Forest Practices Board is pleased to provide a submission to the Strategic Review of Old Growth Management in BC. We have done a fair amount of work involving old growth management through our audits, complaint investigations and special investigations. We are providing a selection of observations based on findings from our work, grouped around two themes: what we don’t know and the need for monitoring and research, and observations on the current management approach.

A Proposed Pathway for Improving Wildlife Management and Habitat Conservation in British Columbia

The Forest Practices Board is pleased to provide a submission to Together for Wildlife. At the outset, we wish to recognize the importance of having a long-term vision and plan for stewardship of BC’s wildlife resources, and the importance of this initiative. This submission draws from reports and investigations the Board has undertaken over almost 25 years.

The Forest Practices Board is pleased to provide a submission to the Provincial Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy. Our recommendations are broken into three parts. We suggest that an overarching policy goal guide all actions regarding adaptation. We identify five focus areas where we believe action will have greatest impact, and finally we have provided an appendix with past recommendations from the Board for specific actions that can be taken.

Public Engagement on Amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act (June 2019)

As part of government’s public consultation on proposed amendments to FRPA, the Forest Practices Board submitted comments on the need for modernized planning under FRPA.

READ Board Submission

Priorities for Strengthening the Forest and Range Practices Act (August 2019)

This letter provides the Board’s additional thoughts on some key priorities for legislative reform; these are all derived from previous Board work including investigations, appeals and audits.

READ Board Response

READ Ministry’s Response

 

The Forest Practices Board strategic plan for 2019-2022 will guide our work and help us to focus on priority issues for the next three years.

Planning for forest management in BC is currently missing a critical level between strategic processes for setting direction (such as land use planning) and operational planning. This tactical level of planning is essential if we are going to move towards a desired future forest for all values.

In this special report, the Board has outlined the advantages and principles of tactical forest planning—why we should do it and what it consists of.

In 2015, the Forest Practices Board published a special investigation report on forest stewardship plans (FSPs). The 2015 report findings were substantial, and the recommendations triggered a quick response from government in the form of non-legal direction and training for practitioners and government staff. Since the 2015 report came out, many FSPs have expired and new replacement FSPs have been submitted to the province for approval.

The Board decided to take a look at the status and content of new FSPs to see if its recommendations were being implemented and if the new replacement FSPs were improving. The results of that follow-up work are contained in this report.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is British Columbia’s land manager, responsible for stewardship of provincial Crown land, cultural and natural resources. The Compliance and Enforcement Branch (C&E) is the law enforcement arm of the ministry and is responsible for ensuring compliance with natural resource legislation.

In 2013, the Board examined the C&E program and released its “Monitoring Licensees’ Compliance with Legislation” special investigation report. The Board found that the number of inspections of forest and range activities was one-third the level carried out before the expansion of C&E’s mandate. Since that report came out, the C&E program has changed dramatically.

With focus on the Wildfire Act and FRPA, this investigation examines the compliance and enforcement framework that government has established.

Fish are an important part of the environmental, economic, social, cultural and spiritual fabric of BC. People care deeply about fish and fish habitats and how they are managed. Much of the public’s concern about fish relates to how forestry and range activities are managed to prevent impacts to fish habitats. The Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and its regulations contain several objectives and practice requirements to protect or conserve fish and fish habitats.

Past Board work and government monitoring have shown that the general practices requirements in FRPA have improved the protection of fish habitats compared to when there was no such legislation.  This special report identifies opportunities to further strengthen aspects of forest management and FRPA implementation to conserve fish habitats.

The Board received a complaint about harvesting a young stand of trees that had been treated to increase the volume and value of the trees. The complainant was concerned that harvesting this young stand may impact timber supply and was not consistent with good forest stewardship or sound ecological principles.

The Board believed that one stand alone is not significant, so it decided to carry out a special investigation looking at the practice of harvesting young stands across five coastal timber supply areas (TSAs): the Arrowsmith, Fraser, Soo, Strathcona and Sunshine Coast.

The investigation examined the extent of young stand harvesting and the amount of harvesting in treated stands.