Tracking forest land status important
VICTORIA – An investigation has found that government needs to improve its system for tracking changes in forest land condition in B.C.
“Keeping track of forests – what’s been harvested, what is growing back and what is set aside for wildlife – is essential to sound management of those forests,” said board chair Al Gorley. “The information has to be reasonably accurate and current to know if we are getting the results we expect from our forest management activities, and to inform decision-makers about what to do in the future.”
By law, forest licensees must report annually on their harvesting and reforestation activities. This investigation looked at compliance with that requirement and found that most reports were correctly submitted, but enough were incomplete, inaccurate or late to be of concern to the board.
In 2005, government moved to the digital world, and hundreds of forestry licensees now submit their information directly into the reporting database. However, there are few built-in system controls to ensure that the information is complete, and very little quality control is done by government staff to ensure it is timely or accurate. Training for users and support for the system are also of concern to the board.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board can investigate and report on current forestry and range issues and make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
More information can be obtained by contacting:
Helen Davies, Communications
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4708 / 1 800 994-5899
November 29, 2011