Watchdog celebrates 10 years of promoting forest stewardship
VICTORIA – B.C.’s Forest Practices Board celebrated its first 10 years of existence with the release of its 2004/2005 annual report today. The board, B.C.’s independent forest watchdog, was established in 1995 to report to the public about compliance with the forestry laws.
“Now in its eleventh year of operation, the board is well into making the transition from assessing compliance with a prescriptive Forest Practices Code, to measuring the effectiveness of forest practices under the new Forest and Range Practices Act,” said board chair Bruce Fraser.
The report reviews recent board work on a number of high-profile public issues, including integrating non-timber forest products into forest planning and practices in British Columbia; management of the mountain pine beetle epidemic; the need to protect threatened species such as the mountain caribou, marbled murrelets, and mountain goats; and the rehabilitation of damage from fighting forest fires.
“In 2004/2005, the board tested criteria and indicators to measure the effectiveness of forest practices at protecting key forest values, such as streams,” said Fraser. “These pilots will pave the way for future board work to assess the results of ecosystem-based management, and other emerging practices, as they are developed and integrated into forest stewardship plans.”
Some 2004/2005 report highlights:
In 2004/05, the board published 11 audit reports, nine complaint investigation reports, six special reports and three special investigation reports. The prevailing finding in board reports is a high level of compliance, by licensees and government, with forest legislation.
The board issued a special report on the conservation of the mountain caribou, which called for quick action from government to deal with the immediate threat to the vulnerable mountain caribou population. The provincial government created the Office for Species at Risk shortly after the report was released.
Five new board members were appointed in 2004: Geoffrey S. Battersby as vice-chair, Mark Haddock, Dr. Darcy Mitchell, Barbara Shirley, and Guenter Stahl. Continuing members were Dr. Bruce Fraser as Chair; and board members Fred Lowenberger and David Mannix.
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog, established in 1995, 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 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.
This news release, the full report and more information about the board are available on the Forest Practices Board Web site at www.fpb.gov.bc.ca or by contacting:
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899
September 8, 2005