Board Audit Will Examine Soil Conservation

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board will conduct a pilot audit this fall looking specifically at how forest activities affect soil conservation.

Forest practices can have serious environmental impacts on soil. Poor forest practices can erode surface soils, causing landslides that harm fish and water sources and can endanger public safety and property. Soil damage from forest road construction, harvesting and mechanical site-preparation treatments — such as using heavy machinery to cultivate soil for improved seedling survival and growth — can also impair future productivity of the forest. Soil conservation has been identified as a key environmental value in the Forest and Range Practices Act.

The Mackenzie Forest District was chosen at random for this audit. The audit area covers four landscape units totalling more than 620,000 hectares surrounding the southern end of Williston Lake down to the community of Mackenzie.

The audit will assess the level of licensee compliance with the Forest Practices Code, and assess the effectiveness of forest practices in conserving soil and site productivity. The audit will examine all forestry activities with the potential to harm soils for the period between Sept. 1, 2001 and Sept. 1, 2003 for two major forest licences held by Slocan Forest Products Ltd. and Abitibi Consolidated Inc., as well as various small-scale government timber sales licences and salvage permits. Soil rehabilitation activities dating back to Sept. 1, 1999 will also be subject to audit.

The four-member audit team includes two professional foresters, a soils specialist and a chartered accountant. They will be in the area for about 10 days, beginning Sept. 2. Once the fieldwork is done, the audit team will report its findings to the board. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations will then be released to the public and government.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with forest practices legislation 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 the code.
  • Investigating public complaints.
  • Undertaking special investigations of code-related forestry issues.
  • Participating in administrative reviews and appeals.
  • Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.

Jacqueline Waldorf

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

August 25, 2003