Managing Landslide Risk from Forest Practices in British Columbia
Forest Practices Effective at Reducing Landslides
Under the Forest Practices Code, the Forest Practices Board reported today.
The board’s special investigation examined landslides in harvest blocks and near forestry roads built since the 1995 Forest Practices Code came into effect. The report examined the rate of forestry-related landslides and their potential environmental damage; whether landslide risk assessments conducted by professionals were adequate; and the implications of these findings for the new Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).
“The board found significant improvement in the reduction of landslides from forest practices after the code took effect,” said board member Fred Lowenberger. “The total number of landslides declined, and those that did occur were less likely to damage streams. However, we also identified numerous landslides caused by pre-code roads, even when these roads hadbeen deactivated.”
The report concluded that forest companies completed landslide risk assessments where required. However, nearly half of the assessments were not used to guide logging plans or road design. The quality of the assessments improved over time, as forest companies and their professional consultants gained experience with the new code requirements.
“While there is still room for improvement, the overall code system for reducing landslides due to logging operations worked well,” said Lowenberger. “With FRPA, code requirements for landslide hazard mapping and assessments have been removed, and replaced with a general objective to avoid negative effects from landslides on forest values.
“The onus is now on forest companies to maintain their high performance levels, and on government to provide more detail on what level of damage from landslides is acceptable.”
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with FRPA and the achievement of its intent. 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 or 1-800-994-5899