In February 2018, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from residents of East Thurlow Island about forest planning for old forest and red- and blue-listed plant communities in the Great Bear Rainforest. The complainants believed that TimberWest’s planning did not meet the intent of the Great Bear Rainforest Order, and that it favored the harvest of timber over the conservation of ecological integrity.

The Board concludes TimberWest is meeting the intent of the Order on East Thurlow Island.

A professional biologist with black bear expertise submitted a complaint on April 8, 2019, asserting that black bear dens in large diameter, old trees are being lost to harvesting old growth forests on Vancouver Island. The complainant is concerned that the declining availability of large trees will eventually affect population numbers.

The Board concluded that there is uncertainty in terms of the population status of black bears on Vancouver Island.

For its first compliance audit of 2019, the Board selected Pacheedaht Andersen Timber Holdings Limited Partnership’s (PATH) tree farm licence (TFL) 61 for audit. PATH is a partnership between Pacheedaht First Nation and Andersen Timber.

TFL 61 is located on southwestern Vancouver Island between Port Renfrew and Jordan River. This was a full scope compliance audit and all activities carried out between May 1, 2017, and May 13, 2019, were eligible for audit.

The Forest Practices Board received a complaint about compliance of planning and practices under the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order by British Columbia Timber Sales. The complainant identified cutblocks in the Naikoon landscape unit and was specifically concerned about sustainable stewardship of cedar, watershed level hydrological processes, and landscape level conservation of biodiversity. The complaint also provided the Board with opportunity to see how ecosystem based management on Haida Gwaii.

Board investigators field reviewed cutblocks identified by the complainant and found BCTS planning and practices in the Naikoon landscape unit for sustainable cedar management, watershed level hydrologic processes and landscape level biodiversity are compliant with requirements under the Order.  As well, the Board found that implementation of the Order in the Naikoon LU is currently meeting the intent of ecosystem-based management, according to its underlying principles and the necessary requirements to address such a complicated resource challenge.

The Forest Practices Board received a complaint that alleged forestry activities by A&A Trading, Taan Forest, and BC Timber Sales in the Skidegate Landscape Unit (LU) on Haida Gwaii resulted in landslides, road failures and siltation of fish-bearing streams. In addition, the complainant believes that ecological representation targets for old forest in the Skidegate LU are not being met.

Board investigators field reviewed areas of concern and did not find any evidence that primary forest activities caused a landslide that had a material adverse effect, or that cutblocks and roads contributed sediment to fish bearing streams. The investigators observed that roads were well constructed and maintained.

The ecological representation targets for old forest are in a deficit, but licensees are implementing a recruitment strategy consistent with the legally binding Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order. Not all recruitment areas have been spatially defined, and the Board encourages the licensees and government to finalize the spatial identification of all recruitment polygons as soon as possible.

In late July, the Forest Practices Board audited the forest activities of Western Forest Products Inc.  in Blocks 2 and 5 of tree farm licence 39. Block 2 is located near Sayward on Vancouver Island, and Block 5 is located on the mainland coast in the Phillips River watershed.

This was a full scope compliance audit and all activities carried out between July 1, 2017, and July 27, 2018, were eligible for audit. The Board found that Western complied with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. This is the third audit of the TFL since 2008, and all have shown good results.

As part of its 2017 compliance audit program, the Board randomly selected the North Island Central Coast Natural Resource District as a location for a full scope compliance audit. The Board selected forest licences (FL) A93095 and A93096 and non-replaceable forest licence (NRFL) A75918, held by Gwa’Nak Resources Ltd. for audit.

The activities audited are located approximately 46 kilometres north of Port Hardy, along Belize Inlet and within the Great Bear Rainforest. The audit area is remote and can only be accessed by water or air. Rugged mountains, lakes and numerous inlets, which create operational challenges, characterize the area. It is ecologically complex, supporting a rich and diverse array of wildlife, and contains a mixture of hemlock, balsam and western red cedar tree species.

From May 29 to June 2, 2017, the Forest Practices Board audited the activities of BC Timber Sales and timber sale licensees in the South Island Natural Resource District. This was a full scope compliance audit and all activities carried out between June 1, 2015, and June 2, 2017, were subject to audit.

All activities complied with the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, with two exceptions—a significant non-compliance related to the safety of new road construction, and a significant non-compliance related to the maintenance of natural surface drainage patterns and the disturbance of stream channels and banks.

A government mapping error lead residents of Granite Bay (the complainants), on Quadra Island, to believe that the area across the bay from them was a park and would not be logged. When the Granite Bay residents discovered that the area could be logged they asked the district manager to establish a visual quality objective of retention so that any logging will be difficult to see. This letter reports the resolution of this complaint.

In May 2016, Sierra Club BC submitted a complaint about logging practices in the East Creek Valley. This valley is just north of Mquqwin / Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park on northwest Vancouver Island. Sierra Club BC (the complainant) was concerned with a wide range of issues related to forest planning and practices.

The Board examined the licensee’s forest operations on the ground in the East Creek Valley, their planning activities relating to the operations, and whether the licensee provided adequate access to site plan information when requested by the complainant.