Ministry is meeting its timber management goals

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations responds to the auditor general's report

VICTORIA – The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations responds to the auditor general’s report on the ministry’s timber management objectives:

Auditor general recommendation:

Develop a plan for directing forest stewardship that establishes clearly defined timber objectives and stewardship principles to guide decision-making, actions, timeframes and assessment of results.

Ministry response:

* This already happens, with the ministry’s timber objectives clearly set out in the Forest and Range Practices Act, forest planning and practices regulation.

* Good stewardship principles and direction in timber management are also part of the Timber Supply Review process and guidance documents from the chief forester to the forest industry and other forest professionals.

Auditor general recommendation:

Ensure that investments in silviculture are sufficient to achieve long-term timber objectives, and that they align with stewardship principles and are cost-effective.

Ministry response:

* By law, forest companies are required to reforest harvested areas.

* Government invests in silviculture in areas impacted by mountain pine beetle and wildfires through its Forests for Tomorrow reforestation program.

* Since its inception in 2005, Forests for Tomorrow has invested over $236 million in reforestation.

* Forests for Tomorrow has surveyed about one million hectares and planted more than 60 million seedlings over 50,000 hectares.

* The harvest of beetle-affected stands and the natural re-growth of unharvested stands are closely monitored for rehabilitation.

Auditor general recommendation:

Ensure that restocking activities result in the establishment of forests that are consistent with long-term timber objectives.

Ministry response:

* High standards already exist for stocking and seed use. However, the ministry is prepared to review them to see if they can be further improved.

* B.C. uses over 20 different native tree species in its reforestation programs. Only trees that are ecologically suited to a particular site are utilized.

* This diversity is especially important in light of challenges such as the need to adapt to a changing climate.

Auditor general recommendation:

Ensure that information systems reflect actual forest conditions in priority management areas.

Ministry response:

* The ministry’s inventory program provides up to date information about the state of B.C.’s forests.

* In addition to keeping the provincial forest inventory updated, the inventory program’s many functions include air photo acquisition, photo interpretation, ground sampling, site productivity work and growth-and-yield monitoring.

* Major inventory projects are underway in each region of the province. In the Interior, the emphasis is on forests impacted by the mountain pine beetle. On the Coast, the emphasis is on Haida Gwaii and Mid-Coast areas under ecosystem-based management.

Auditor general recommendation:

Ensure the collective and individual components of its oversight framework are sufficient to ensure the achievement of long-term timber objectives.

Ministry response:

* Rigorous oversight is provided by the ministry’s compliance and enforcement branch, and the Forest and Range Evaluation Program.

* As well, independent oversight is provided by the Forest Practices Board, resource professionals, and third-party certification (with 53 million hectares of the province independently certified to one of three internationally recognized sustainable forest management standards).

Auditor general recommendation:

Develop and implement appropriate performance measures to demonstrate progress toward achieving long-term timber objectives and report publicly on the results.

Ministry response:

 

* As recommended by the auditor general, the ministry will strive to develop a publicly reported performance measure that shows progress in achieving timber objectives.

– Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations