West Fraser gets clean audit, could improve beetle management practices
VICTORIA – West Fraser’s forest practices are in full compliance with the Forest Practices Code, while the company’s pine beetle management practices could be improved, the Forest Practices Board reported today.
The board audited for compliance with the Forest Practices Code on forest licence A20002, held by West Fraser Mills Ltd. (West Fraser). The operating area for this volume-based licence is within the 100 Mile House forest district. West Fraser’s operations during the audit period were primarily located in the southeastern area of the district, north of the town of Clinton and south of 100 Mile House.
The audit examined West Fraser’s operational planning; timber harvesting; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; silviculture; and fire protection practices for the period from June 1, 2002, to June 9, 2003.
The audit found that West Fraser’s forest planning and practices complied with code requirements in all significant respects, except for two cutblocks where there was insufficient information for the board to assess compliance.
“The board is pleased that West Fraser’s forest planning and practices are fully compliant with Code requirements,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “The company also worked with the Ministry of Forests to deal with heavy beetle infestations in some portions of their operating area.”
The population of mountain pine beetles has been increasing in the operating area of forest license A20002 for several years. The district manager of the 100 Mile House Forest District provided guidance to West Fraser on beetle management, and the company had the option to use the Bark Beetle Regulation (BBR), which was designed to help fight the spread of pine beetles while minimizing the impact on non-infested timber.
West Fraser was not legally obligated to follow either the district manager guidelines or the BBR regulations, and opted not to do so. The audit noted that West Fraser’s forest health practices could be improved by focusing aggressively on removing beetle-infested timber and relying on the district manager’s guidance and the BBR provisions where appropriate.
“There is no one perfect means that will solve the pine beetle crisis,” said Fraser. “The science continues to evolve, and methods that were effective during the audit period have been overtaken by the spread of the beetle infestation since that time.
“In dealing with this very difficult challenge, we encourage West Fraser to continue to target the removal of beetle-infested timber in its harvesting plans, by using the latest science to guide its approach in order to minimize harvesting of non-infested timber.”
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
June 4, 2004