Measuring and Allocating Forage on Rangelands in BC
Forest Practices Board identifies opportunities to improve range management
VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board has released a report on the measurement and allocation of forage on rangelands in British Columbia.
The report identifies several opportunities to improve the management of public rangelands. These include setting specific targets for conserving forage for wildlife and using a more robust system to measure and inventory the amount of available forage on rangelands.
“The board found that government has developed good guidelines for measuring forage, but they aren’t consistently used,” said Gerry Grant, board member of B.C.’s Forest Practices Board.
The board also found government lacks a current inventory of forage in some districts with high range usage.
“We’re encouraged to hear that a system is being developed to prioritize monitoring resources, which could improve range management,” Grant said.
Authorized livestock use in grazing tenures is specified in agreements between ranches and government. The board found these levels of use have typically stayed the same over time, even when the condition of the range has changed.
“Most current grazing allocations are based on historical numbers,” Grant said. “The board encourages government to strengthen the link between forage availability and grazing allocations.”
The board also noted, over the long term, forestry activities within and adjacent to grazing tenures can reduce the amount of forage available for livestock and wildlife. Unlike range tenure holders, forest tenure holders do not have a legal requirement to maintain forage. The report states that government objectives for forage may be undermined without integrated planning between range managers and forest managers within the same area.
Good management of B.C.’s range resources is important in maintaining ecological integrity and providing habitat for rare and endangered species, as well as food for wildlife, carbon sequestration, preventing encroachment of invasive plants and in maintaining water quality.
The full list of opportunities for improvement is available in the report, Measuring and Allocating Forage on Rangelands in BC, on the board’s website: https://www.bcfpb.ca
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’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.
Forest Practices Board