Forest Watchdog Learning New Tricks to Adapt to Results-Based Regulations
VICTORIA – The Province’s independent forest practices watchdog is updating its approach to auditing and monitoring forestry operations to reflect emerging trends such as results-based regulation and third-party certification.
In its 2003 annual report released today, the Forest Practices Board also reviews the impact of new forestry legislation, the need to protect endangered species habitats, and the board’s role in the ongoing public dialogue about the future of forest management in British Columbia.
“As forest regulations shift from detailed rules to a focus on achieving results, the role of an independent watchdog to monitor forest practices and report findings to British Columbians is more relevant than ever,” said board chair Bruce Fraser.
The report profiles several board responses to the results-based environment, including pilot audits using indicators for soil and riparian values and coordinating board audits with third party certification audits.
“For the coming year, the board will focus on measuring the effectiveness of forest practices on the ground,” said Fraser. “We also reaffirm our commitment to promoting the public interest in forest stewardship, continuing to produce quality field work, and informing and engaging the public on key topics such as the mountain pine beetle crisis and forest fire rehabilitation strategies.”
Some report highlights:
In 2003, the board published eight audit reports, four complaint investigation reports, and three special reports. The board also participated in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on a groundbreaking case involving compensation for damage to environmental values on public forest lands.
Major complaint investigation issues reported in 2003 include the potential environmental impacts of road construction, wildlife/range interaction, and trespassing concerns involving cattle grazing.
Bill Cafferata’s three-year term as board chair ended in January 2003 and Dr. Bruce Fraser joined the Board as the new chair in late November 2003. Vice-chair Liz Osborn, Tyler Elm, Fred Lowenberger, and Dave Mannix continued as part-time board members in 2003.
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
April 28, 2004