Forest practices improving but better government planning needed
VICTORIA– The province’s independent forest practices watchdog says on-the-ground forest practices continue to improve in B.C.’s public forests, but government still needs to provide direction to forest companies to ensure the protection of threatened wildlife habitat.
In its 2002 annual report, the Forest Practices Board also comments on changes to forest legislation, the board’s continued role in monitoring forest practices, and the issues and trends noted in the course of the year’s work.
“A lot of change is taking place in forestry in B.C., but the board will continue to provide the public with independent assessments of forest and range practices,” said acting board chair Liz Osborn.
The report, tabled in the legislature yesterday, identifies several areas in which the board’s work has led to measurable improvements in forest practices – from government’s decision-making processes to communications among forestry professionals ensuring risk to the environment is well-managed.
- In 2002, the board published five audit reports, 32 complaint investigation reports, one special investigation report and six special reports. The board also participated in an appeal to the B.C. Supreme Court.
- The majority of planning and practices audited were in compliance with the code, but the board found some level of concern in each of the five audits reported in 2002. These problems ranged from unsafe bridges, to inadequate government compliance and enforcement of code range practices, to risks posed by pipeline construction.
- The most prominent complaint investigation issues reported in 2002 were water quality management, access management, public review and comment on plans, impacts to wildlife and habitat, and pine beetle management.
- Four new members were appointed to the board in 2002, replacing board members whose terms had expired. Liz Osborn was appointed vice-chair, and the new board members are Tyler Elm, Fred Lowenberger and David Mannix. Board chair Bill Cafferata completed his term in January 2003 and vice-chair John Cuthbert completed his in April 2003. The search for a new chair is ongoing.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog, established in 1995, that publishes reports about compliance with the 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.
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 356-1586 / 1 800 994-5899
May 29, 2003