Audit of Chilcotin BC Timber Sales finds free-growing non-compliance
VICTORIA – The BC Timber Sales (BCTS) program in Chilcotin Forest District is in compliance with the Forest Practices Code, except for free-growing obligations, the Forest Practices Board reported today.
The audit examined BCTS’s operational planning; timber harvesting; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; silviculture; and fire protection practices for the period of Aug. 1, 2002, to Aug. 22, 2003. The community of Alexis Creek, about 120 km west of Williams Lake, is the main community in the audit area.
The audit found that BCTS’s forest planning and practices complied with code requirements in all significant respects, except for the obligation to reforest logged sites with native tree species to establish a new crop of trees. This obligation ends once the trees are free to grow into a healthy new forest, which is known as free-growing.
“Compliance with free-growing obligations is a key component of sustainable management of British Columbia’s forest lands,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “BCTS is undertaking specific steps to improve its free-growing operating procedures. The board recognizes that progress is being made and recommends that BCTS report back to the board by the end of 2004 on implementation of the improvements.”
The audit also concluded that BCTS was taking appropriate measures to address the values of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan (CCLUP) in their forestry operations, when those values were linked to specific targets and objectives.
The board notes that some of those detailed planning elements are still not in place, eight years after the CCLUP was first announced. The board urges the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management to complete those planning processes in a timely manner. The board also encourages government to formalize the appropriate requirements as objectives under the Forest and Range Practices Act.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent. The board’s mandate has been retained under the new Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). The board’s main roles under FRPA are:
- Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
- Auditing government enforcement of FRPA.
- Investigating public complaints.
- Undertaking special investigations of forestry issues.
- Participating in administrative appeals.
- Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 356-1586 / 1 800 994-5899
June 14, 2004