Board Audit Will Examine Mountain Pine Beetle Management

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board will conduct an audit this September looking specifically at forest activities related to the ongoing mountain pine beetle infestation in north-central BC.

Mountain pine beetles attack and kill mature trees by boring through the bark and mining the layer between the bark and wood of a tree. About half a billion trees have been killed by bark beetle attacks in B.C. in the past 80 years. Beetle infestations can increase the risk of forest fires and damage to environmental and wildlife values within affected areas.

The Vanderhoof Forest District was chosen at random for audit. The mountain pine beetle theme was identified as appropriate for this area. The audit area covers the 102,000-hectare Hallett landscape unit, just south of the community of Fraser Lake. This area is becoming one of the hardest hit by mountain pine beetle in the province, as the infestation moves aggressively north from the Tweedsmuir Park area.

The audit will examine the operations of L&M Lumber Ltd., Pacific Inland Resources, Fraser Lake Sawmills, BC Timber Sales and Canadian Forest Products Ltd. for compliance with the Forest Practices Code. It will examine all forestry activities related to mountain pine beetle management—including harvesting; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; and silviculture—for the period between Sept. 1, 2002 and Sept. 29, 2003.

The audit team is made up of five registered professional foresters. They will be in the area for about seven days, beginning Sept. 22. Once the fieldwork is done, the audit team will report its findings to the board. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations will then be released to the public and government.

Information gathered in this audit will also be used as part of a special report the board is preparing on effectiveness of the government’s emergency bark beetle strategy in maintaining values such as timber, soil, wildlife habitat and biodiversity. The special project will involve examining mountain pine beetle harvest sites in the Nadina and Vanderhoof forest districts, as well as the results of other board audits conducted in areas affected by the mountain pine beetle.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with forest practices legislation and the achievement of its intent. The board’s main roles are:

  • Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
  • Auditing government enforcement of the code.
  • Investigating public complaints.
  • Undertaking special investigations of code-related forestry issues.
  • Participating in administrative reviews and appeals.
  • Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.

Jacqueline Waldorf

Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 356-1586 / 1 800 994-5899

September 18, 2003