New results-based approach used for forestry audits

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board has released two pilot audits on forest soil conservation and streamside (riparian) management , the first board audits to reflect the results-based approach of the new Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).

“This is the board’s first step towards actually measuring whether forest practices are effectively preserving our forest and environmental values for future generations,“ said board chair Bruce Fraser. “While auditing compliance is still part of the board’s mandate, we are shifting our emphasis for future audits to evaluating achievement of results.”

The audits found that the forest practices examined were generally successful at protecting soils from the effects of harvesting activities and at preserving fish habitat in streams. With one exception, all licensees complied with the requirements of the Forest Practices Code, which was in effect during the period of the audit. FRPA is being phased in over a two-year period ending on Dec. 31, 2005.

“We found that forest companies and BC Timber Sales (BCTS) are doing a good job on the ground in protecting our soils and streams, but we also made recommendations to promote better performance on rehabilitating forest roads and reducing sediment deposits in streams,” said Fraser. “These pilot audits were a first opportunity to test science-based criteria and indicators to measure the effectiveness of forest practices in achieving objectives set by government.

“This is a work in progress and we will continue to improve our results-based auditing procedures through further pilot audits. We welcome feedback on our criteria and indicators, which are measuring tools to evaluate whether the desired results are being achieved. The board will be discussing the results of the pilot audits with forest professionals, industry, government and environmental organizations over the coming months.”

The pilot audit of forest soil conservation was conducted in the Mackenzie Forest District in the summer of 2003, while the stream riparian management pilot audit took place in the Chilliwack Forest District in the fall of 2003. The board is conducting further pilot results-based audits on biodiversity conservation, visual quality and stream riparian management.

The soil conservation audit found non-compliance with code requirements by BCTS, as its road construction practices exceeded prescribed limits and had a negative impact on the future productivity of the sites affected. The board requested that the Prince George BCTS manager review BCTS systems for ensuring compliance with legislated soil conservation requirements, and effect improvements as necessary.

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 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.


Response from the Ministry of Forests and Range
Closing Letter from Chair

Erik Kaye

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