Achievement of Free-Growing Forests – 2004 Provincial Update
This investigation reviews the achievement of free-growing status – replacement of logged sites with healthy new forests – by licensees across BC. It provides an update to a 2004 investigation of the same subject.
British Columbia is proud of its sustainable forest management practices. Following the logging of public land, forest companies are required to reforest the site with native species and establish a new crop of trees. Each year, more than 200 million seedlings are planted in the province. Forest companies are then required to tend those trees for a number of years, to ensure they survive and grow into a healthy new forest. Once the trees reach this stage, called ‘free growing,’ the companies are relieved of their responsibility to look after the trees, which once again become the responsibility of the Crown.
The free-growing standard is the principal benchmark in measuring the achievement of reforestation objectives in BC. Free growing means that licensees have re-established, on a logged area, a stand of healthy, growing trees that can continue to thrive without further intervention. Achievement is based on a set of stand measurements, taken at a predetermined time, with clear criteria for determining free growing. The deadline for licensees to achieve free growing is known as the “late free-growing date.”