BC's Sustainable Forest Management

Silviculture Work, 100 Mile House, B.C. Photo: Michael Bednar

Sustainable Forest Management

British Columbia is an international leader in sustainable forest management. Its forestlands are unique among worldwide producers in that 95% are publicly owned and subject to strict forest-management laws, backed by a comprehensive compliance and enforcement process that involves various provincial and federal agencies. British Columbia's Forest and Range Practices Act maintains the province's high level of environmental protection, and applies to any forest or range activities on public land. In addition, British Columbia’s laws and conservation strategies are geared to protecting the habitat of vulnerable species such as spotted owls and mountain caribou.

The Forest and Range Practices Act specifies requirements to conserve soils, reforest logged areas, and protect riparian areas, fish and fish habitats, watersheds, biodiversity and wildlife. It also specifies requirements for the construction, maintenance and deactivation of forest roads. About 200 million seedlings are planted every year in the province.

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In addition, the independent Forest Practices Board watches over all forestry activities on behalf of the public. Two independent studies comparing forestry regulations (click here and here) in jurisdictions around the world, found that British Columbia’s forest sustainability requirements are among the most stringent in the world.

British Columbia is the most biologically and ecologically diverse province in Canada, and the province takes care to maintain this immense diversity through a coordinated comprehensive strategy to conserve a network of parks and protected areas totalling 14.1 million hectares (approx. 35 million acres or 14.8%) of the province. An equally large area is designated for special management, which means other values in the forest, such as wildlife habitat or scenic values take precedence over resource development. In general, the more closely a managed forest resembles a forest that was established by natural processes, the greater the probability that all its native species and ecological processes will be maintained.

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