Reports from the forest industry about the effects of their activities have always been important to managing the public forests. However, forestry in BC is in a new era that differs from the past in two important respects in the context of reporting.
First, the move to a results‐based regime under BC’s Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) means that accurate reporting is now more important than in the past. Under FRPA, forest licensees have been given freedom to carry out their forest practices provided those practices are consistent with objectives set by government for forest values. One corollary to this freedom to manage is that licensees must provide complete, accurate and timely reports about what has happened, and what the effect has been on the forest, so that government can assess whether its objectives are being met.
A second and perhaps more important difference is that, over the last decade, the forest ministry has dramatically reduced the number of field and office staff responsible for overseeing forestry activities and the role of the remaining staff has changed. In the past, ministry staff could, and did, go to see what was happening on the ground and they provided first‐hand reports. They also received reports submitted by agreement holders, and were involved in ensuring the quality of those reports, and maintaining information in their own offices