Forest watchdog to investigate impact of pine beetle salvage
VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board will investigate the impact of large-scale salvage of mountain pine beetle-killed timber on reforestation objectives, biodiversity, watershed protection and accumulation of forest fuels over the coming months.
Fieldwork for the special investigation will begin this week, and the findings are expected to be released in early 2006.
“Just as the scope of the mountain pine beetle outbreak is unprecedented, so is the extent of salvage logging currently taking place in B.C.’s Central Interior,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “This investigation will allow us to look at the early impacts on key forest values, and, if warranted, recommend improvements to address concerns and identify immediate research needs.”
The project will focus on two landscape units in the Quesnel forest district. Most of the district is beetle-infested, so forestry operations are focused on salvage logging. If not well planned, large-scale salvage operations could cause significant negative effects on wildlife and watersheds, beyond the damage from the beetle outbreak itself.
“The beetle outbreak is so widespread that a considerable amount of beetle-killed timber will remain unlogged, despite the increase in the annual allowable cut in these regions,” said Fraser. “The investigation will examine prospects for regeneration and future biodiversity values in these infested but unlogged areas.”
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and the achievement of its intent. 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 or 1-800-994-5899
September 13, 2005