Auditor blasts B.C. forest management

The B.C. government doesn’t have enough information about its forest management to deal with the long-term results

By Tom Fletcher

Black Press

VICTORIA – The B.C. government doesn’t have enough information about its forest management to deal with the long-term results of widespread beetle kill and fires, B.C. Auditor General John Doyle concludes in a report released Thursday.

Doyle’s report also criticizes the province’s shift of responsibility for replanting logged Crown land from the ministry to logging companies.

Since 2004, logging companies have been responsible for replacement trees until they reach “free growing” height, which takes seven to 20 years depending on species. The audit found the policy tends to reduce species diversity.

“Reforestation is a cost to forest companies, not an investment,” Doyle writes. “In managing their business, forest companies tend to take the least-cost, least-risk approach to meet reforestation regulations, which means planting lower-cost, faster-growing species.”

Doyle also concluded that the forests ministry has fallen behind in a long-standing commitment to reforest areas damaged by natural disturbances before 1987, when industry first became responsible for replacing harvested areas.

Opposition MLAs pressed Forests Minister Steve Thomson in the legislature Thursday.

“The ministry is degrading the forest,” said NDP forests critic Norm Macdonald.

Thomson replied that the government has invested $236 million in its Forests for Tomorrow program since 2005, when it was set up in response to the pine beetle epidemic in the B.C. Interior. That program calls for 14.5 million seedlings to be planted in 2012-13 and another 21.5 million in 2013-14.

Speaking to reporters, Thomson rejected Doyle’s conclusion that the ministry is falling behind in reforestation. But he acknowledged that the current estimate of 733,000 hectares “not satisfactorily restocked” is likely to be revised upward once an ongoing update of B.C. forest inventory is complete.

“We’re working through the harvesting of the mountain pine beetle,” Thomson said. “What we have to do is make sure that we know where areas are being harvested or not harvested before we go in and do the reforestation work, because we don’t want to put resources into areas that still need to be available for potential salvage harvesting.”

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson said the auditor’s findings show why the government does not know whether there is sufficient timber supply in northwestern B.C. to justify the reconstruction of the Burns Lake sawmill that was destroyed by fire in January.

 

Just Posted

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Coastal GasLink prepares sites of construction work camps

Unist’ot’en condemn 14 ‘man camps’ housing 500-800 workers as threatening safety of women and children

TSKLH Nation sues Province over Brucejack mine revenue sharing

The Tsetsaut/Skii km Lax Ha seeks to assert rights and title in the area around Pretivm gold mine.

Unist’ot’en not joining hereditary chiefs’ provincial reconciliation

A potlatch feast will be held in March by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to discuss with clans.

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Most Read