Management of Habitat for Species at Risk under FRPA
Investigation Examines Habitat Protection for Species at Risk by Government and Forest Licensees
VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board has released an investigative report about the management of habitat for species at risk under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). The report examines the BC government’s use of tools available under FRPA to protect habitat for species at risk and forest licensees’ compliance with legal requirements.
In this investigation, the Board looked at a sample of areas where legal measures are in place for habitat protection and found that operational-level forest planning and practices were consistent with those legal requirements.
“Where government sets clear, legal objectives, licensees comply,” said Bruce Larson, vice chair of the Forest Practices Board. “However, the legal tools available to government aren’t always being used, and we found a lack of transparency in how government makes decisions about balancing timber supply and habitat protection.”
Additionally, the Board found that the process of listing species to enable the use of FRPA tools is slow and cumbersome, and has not kept pace with the current risk status of species in BC. “Conditions are continually changing on the land base, especially with increasing climate-related events like wildfires,” said Larson. “A more clear and efficient listing process could help government implement legislative and policy tools quicker, preventing critical habitat loss.”
The Board is calling for government to update its policies for managing species at risk habitat, including increasing transparency and clear direction on the use and timing of available tools under FRPA, as well as supporting an integrated approach to habitat supply that considers multiple species.
The Forest Practices Board is BC’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and the appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
Shannon West, Communications
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4735 / 1 800 994-5899