High Retention Harvesting and Timber Sustainability on the British Columbia Coast

Originally published in 2008, this report was revised and re-published in January 2009. Revisions were made to correct data errors and to clarify the Board’s views on the findings of the investigation. The conclusions and recommendations in the original report did not change.

This investigation examines the sustainability of timber supply in areas with high retention harvesting on the Queen Charlotte Islands and the central and northern B.C. coast, by assessing post-harvest stand structure and condition in recent cutblocks. The investigation found high-grading of cedar and some spruce trees—selectively removing the valuable cedar and spruce trees, leaving behind mainly old rotting hemlock trees spread across the cutblock. The investigation also found that important social and environmental values such as viewscapes and biodiversity, often cited as the reason for using this method, were protected.