5.1 Forest Practices Regulations



Regulations that guide land use activities provide the most effective ways to protect caribou areas and help recovery. In most of British Columbia, the forestry sector has the most significant current and potential impacts on caribou habitat.

We will work with this sector to bring in more caribou-friendly approaches. We will produce a Best Practice Guide: Forestry in Caribou Country, to show forest sector members how they can harvest in a hypothetical caribou habitat in ways that reduce or erase impacts on caribou.

Current legislation that regulates forest practices with respect to impacts on caribou and caribou habitat are:

  • The Land Act and its Land Use Objectives
  • The Forest and Range Practices Act and its Government Actions Regulation

However, conflicting goals between caribou recovery and timber production limit the effectiveness of these laws to protect caribou. The Province can ease conflicts by reviewing its forestry regulations, and make recommendations that will help support caribou recovery and forestry.

We recognize any new or amended forestry policy must:

  • address the economic costs of new harvesting and access,
  • ensure the appraisal system provides licensees incentives for a greater emphasis on habitat restoration, and
  • include guidance on how much timber can be harvested and still reach caribou recovery targets. Updated forestry rules can be put into action through herd plans, compliance, legislation and education.

45 responses to “5.1 Forest Practices Regulations

    User avatar
    [-] Sally

    Asking the forestry industry to police itself is like asking the fox to take care of the chickens. As long as there is profit to be made they will do anything for it. If caught, which is rare, they’re still ahead. Damage done, money made.

    User avatar
    [-] Michael

    What are the timelines for new forest practices regulations? Mountain Pine Beetle and now Spruce Beetle has decimated a forest supply that has been overharvested for decades – companies are now shifting their focus to lower quality wood in higher elevations (Balsam) which will make it extremely difficult to change regulations. The current AAC can not be sustainable with a rotation of 150-200 years (Interior where Caribou live). Mills are hauling logs for distances over 200km to keep the mill operating. Unless the government is willing to make hardline decisions to drastically reduce the AAC combined with a serious effort to reduce wolf populations this program is doomed for failure. I won't even go into the exporting of raw logs overseas and how ridiculous that is.

    User avatar
    [-] Alexander

    Not acceptable. There needs to be enforcement and monitoring of forest practices. They cannot police themselves.

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    [-] Bryce

    I would be interested to see what "show forest sector members how they can harvest in a hypothetical caribou habitat in ways that reduce or erase impacts on caribou" actually looks like. According to the forestry sector, they are already doing that. Hmm, doesn't seem to be working!!

    User avatar
    [-] Bryce

    If we are to recover the caribou herds & increase numbers, there should be no conflicting goals. The forestry industry needs to suck it up. For too long they have been handed it all on a platter. Time to reign it in. Too much greed is the problem.

    User avatar
    [-] Bryce

    Ok, who is writing this? It sounds more like it is a case of looking into ways of harvesting more timber and trying to make it look like things are being done for the caribou, rather than planning on recovering the caribou, & looking into what can be done to maintain a forestry industry.

    User avatar
    [-] Denise

    More than recommendations will be needed to ensure that forest activities do not impact habitat. Updated land use plans will be needed to ensure industry and recreation adhere to the necessary steps for recovery of habitat and thus caribou.

    User avatar
    [-] Clinton

    The oil and gas industry needs to be involved in habitat restoration in the northeast as well. While forestry certainly has the largest footprint by area, the oil and gas industry is responsible for creating much of the access into caribou habitat through seismic lines and roads. For some reason, the forest industry is being expected to remediate these linear access features. Unlike forestry, the current ownership and responsibility of these features is unclear. The oil and gas commission should be engaged on this as well and contribute to remediation/reclamation of structures associated with their industry.

    User avatar
    [-] Nicholas

    Every preservation effort to protect habitat has an associated price tag, and it is good to see that this is being looked at. In areas where harvesting still occurs, there are plenty of forest management options that can help to manage for caribou, and the best way to incentivize a major licensee to follow these is by financially recognizing best practices in the appraisal system.

    User avatar
    [-] Janice

    Can we not establish corridors that the caribou need and mark them off on the map as NO MORE LOGGING in these areas? Without reading the "Acts" associated with this, it is in the power of the gov't to change the Act and enforce forestry practices to protect the species (Caribou) and all other species. It appears to me that the recent past and current trajectories of logging are not sustainable. It all needs to slow waaaay down. As well as using chemicals for "weed" control. Unbelievable that glyphosate can be sprayed from aircraft as part of any type of forestry management plan.

    User avatar
    [-] Carolee

    Giving concessions to heli-ski operations needs to be considered, as well as logging.

    User avatar
    [-] Anne

    The Purcell Wilderness provides a large tract of undeveloped forest habitat which caribou use in their need to have a continuous corridor to move and live. This is about to be impacted with logging of the slopes above Mt Willet (Argenta/ Johnsons Landing areas.) This small tract of land was left out of the Purcell Wilderness and is about to be logged. It may not look or seem to impact directly but it is another encroachment and will allow perhaps easier predator access. This type of forestry decision is short sighted and will ultimately change the very environment this project is trying to preserve. All of these types of errors eventually add up to “ no place for these animals to live and thrive”.

    User avatar
    [-] KX

    Restoring habitat after the fact is a long term goal; but in the immediate term (the these animals are in dire need now, governments have been negligent and far too slow to act) we need to have sizeable undisturbed tracts protected from all industry and commercial human use. This can be done now, and must be done. Extinction is not a option.

    User avatar
    [-] Randy

    There is no way to log high country old growth and still protect caribou.The only way is to leave large tracts of this habitat undisturbed.To late as there is none of this habitat left in enough quantity to perserve.

    User avatar
    [-] Bronwen

    In the short term, industrial activities must not be allowed to continue while B.C. decides on a recovery
    strategy or makes plans for one. Caribou habitat must be subject to short-term development moratoria
    (logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, wind farms, threats from recreation and tourism and other activities
    that degrade or disturb caribou habitat) until recovery planning is complete and implemented.
    Government Actions Regulation orders can be used for this purpose.
    Forest practices must adequately conserve ecosystems, including old-growth forests, sufficient to
    recover caribou to the meta-population level as soon as possible. The professional reliance model has
    failed caribou and forest practices must be re-regulated.

    User avatar
    [-] Maryann

    Current forest practices are a joke in terms of conservation of caribou habitat. Caribou habitat protection has no priority when compared to industrial development.

    In the short term, industrial activities must not be allowed to continue while B.C. decides on a recovery strategy or makes plans for one. Caribou habitat must be subject to short-term development moratoria (logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, wind farms, threats from recreation and tourism and other activities that degrade or disturb caribou habitat) until recovery planning is complete and implemented. Government Actions Regulation orders can be used for this purpose.
    Forest practices must adequately conserve ecosystems, including old-growth forests, sufficient to recover caribou to the meta-population level as soon as possible. The professional reliance model has failed caribou and forest practices must be re-regulated.

    User avatar
    [-] Shannon

    In the short term, industrial activities must not be allowed to continue while B.C. decides on a recovery
    strategy or makes plans for one. Caribou habitat must be subject to short-term development moratoria
    (logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, wind farms, threats from recreation and tourism and other activities that degrade or disturb caribou habitat) until recovery planning is complete and implemented. Government Actions Regulation orders can be used for this purpose. Forest practices must adequately conserve ecosystems, including old-growth forests, sufficient to recover caribou to the meta-population level as soon as possible. The professional reliance model has failed caribou and forest practices must be re-regulated.

    The above is so obviously needed. The caribou need time and space. We have taken the space away from them, but we can give them the time to recover.

    User avatar
    [-] Shannon

    Do not expect businesses to adhere to best practices. Suggestions are ridiculous. Enforcement needed. A temporary but significant moratorium on any logging activity in caribou habitat is needed.

    User avatar
    [-] Shannon

    Forestry has taken and taken. It is time to give back. Designate "never to be logged" and "to be reviewed for logging in 10 years" in caribou habitat. Simple as that. The forest Industries are subject to hardships external of wildlife preservation. It has to be a priority of BC to recover the numbers.

    User avatar
    [-] Casey

    It must be addressed that habitat protection is paramount to allow these animals a chance to survive. Take the Selkirk herd for example. Without any type of protection on the habitat rather than continuing to cull the wolves in that area, the herd will continue to decrease in population and the cull will continue to be proved pointless. We must stop the logging of old growth forests and focusing on second growth logging.

    User avatar
    [-] Jane

    Forest practices must adequately conserve ecosystems, including old growth forests, sufficient to recover caribou to the meta-population level as soon as possible. The professional reliance model has failed caribou and forest practices must be re-regulated.

    User avatar
    [-] Cori

    We do not need to log in caribou habitat. "Best practices" are all well and good, but economic pressures mean that unless it is law, it will be business as usual. Change FRPA to make the new caribou rules mandatory and change the Private Managed Forest Land Act to make sure that private forest land follows the same rules. No more two-tiered system.

    User avatar
    [-] Cori

    The economics must include the cost of taking the roads OUT, not just putting them in. Forestry (in our area and oil and gas and mining in other areas) is getting a free ride by only having to build the roads and not debuild them. If taking roads out was part of the equation, a lot of land that is now getting logged would not be economical and we could make sure what is built is carefully planned and managed. There are too many roads and wildlife are now paying the price.

    User avatar
    [-] Jan

    first of all industrial activities whether logging mining or tourism needs to be stopped while a recovery plan is being decided on and implemented.
    There needs to be tight government mandated regulations and oversight regarding protection of adequate ecosystems for habitat long term.

    .

    User avatar
    [-] Quinn

    All forestry in caribou habitat should be stopped immediately. A reclamation process on fragmented habitat due to logging, development, resource extraction, etc should start immediately.

    If this is a serious caribou recovery program then the action needs to start now. Concerned citizens have been screaming for this for years and the scientists, first nations people and anyone who spends some time outdoors knows what needs to be done. Put the habitat back!

    Get it done!

    User avatar
    [-] Mark

    Stop all logging of old growth in the sub alpine. No lichen, no caribou. deactivate existing logging roads in recovery areas ASAP.

    User avatar
    [-] Paula

    Short term development moratoriums on all industrial activity should be instituted until BC's caribou recovery strategy is in place. This could be done via Government Actions Regulation orders.
    Provincial government regulation of forest practices should be reintroduced (since the professional reliance model has been ineffective in protecting caribou habitat).

    User avatar
    [-] Yvonne

    It is essential to halt industrial and recreational activities within the caribou habitat during the time in which a recovery strategy is being developed. If activities continue, more caribou will be lost and the results of the strategy may be irrelevant.

    User avatar
    [-] Pierre

    This is a pie in the sky. These herds are on the brink of extinction and this suggests that logging is still possible in these areas. That suggests the government is willing to sacrifice caribous on the altar of jobs. Be honest and say it unequivoquely so that we all know where the government stands. As far as I'm concerned, these areas that are left exempt of industrial activities are so small that no activity whatsoever should be authorized if we are serious in protecting caribou herds.

    User avatar
    [-] Pierre

    It is one or the other. It's too late if we want to save these herds from extinction to allow further deforestation, even small ones.

    User avatar
    [-] SB

    All industrial use of caribou potential caribou habitat should be ceased until a plan has been developed and implemented to recover caribou populations.

    User avatar
    [-] Jennifer

    There must be short-term development moratoria in caribou habitat on any activities that negatively impact caribou recovery, until recovery planning is complete and implemented. This includes forestry, mining, oil and gas drilling, wind farms, threats from recreation and tourism and any other activities that degrade or disturb caribou habitat. There must be forestry practices developed, implemented and ENFORCED, that protect old-growth forests and ecosystems required by caribou, at a sufficient level to allow for caribou recovery to a meta-population level where all herds are connected as soon as possible. Industry can no longer be relied upon to self-regulate with regard to caribou…government must step in with better policy and enforcement.

    User avatar
    [-] Gary

    This won’t work. Any harvesting will disturb and drive Caribou out of the area, plus increased road access will bring other ungulates and following predators.
    CLOSE THE AREAS COMPLETELY OR THIS PLAN WILL FAIL!!

    User avatar
    [-] Matt

    A best practices guide will not resolve issues with logging. These guides are aspirational, seldom achieved, and regularly forgotten in practice. Best Practices need to be replace with required, monitored, and enforced activities . Further, impacts can be reduced, but will these reductions actually be meaningful? Probably not. Erasing impacts (did you mean preventing?) is simply not a realistic statement. There will always be impacts.

    User avatar
    [-] Disa

    In the short term, industrial activities must cease while the province decides on a recovery strategy or plans for one. Caribou habitat must be subject to short-term development moratoria (logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, wind farms, threats from recreation and tourism and other activities that degrade or disturb caribou habitat) until recovery planning is complete and implemented. Government Actions Regulation orders can be used for this purpose.

    Forest practices must adequately conserve ecosystems, including old-growth forests, sufficient to recover caribou to the meta-population level as soon as possible. The professional reliance model has failed caribou and forest practices must be re-regulated.

    User avatar
    [-] Trevor

    With respect, this sounds to me like wishful thinking. I have been following the stance of the forest industry toward endangered species from the late 70s until the present day, as documented here: http://1000clearcuts.ca/ . No amount of let's-work-together-for-the-sake-of-our-children's-future will change the minds or actions of those who salute the flag of corporate forestry. The future of Deep-Snow Caribou will be decided by only one thing: Whether they do or do not receive long-term protection within legislated protected areas. It is my understanding that the BC government has 'little appetite' for parks creation/extension. If so, and unless that changes, the current Horgan government will be no less complicit in the coming extinction of DSC than Christy Clark government was, and the Gordon Clark government before her. More so actually, as the hour is now very late.

    User avatar
    [-] Doug

    We need to preserve the inland temperate rainforest. The rainforest holds lots of food for the caribou and has no real timber value. The rainforest is logged to make room to plant new growth. This should be illegal.

    User avatar
    [-] Bryn

    The entire resource industry governance model requires an overhaul – all of it – through a lens of ecosystem-based management and strengthening of regulations and science-based decision models. The structure of AAC and cutting plans and professional reliance etc. is not working. Immediate protection measures for caribou habitat need to be put in place now. Build your strategy on science. Change the entire forestry model – it's collapsing economically and ecologically all around us, the writing is on the wall.

    User avatar
    [-] Bryn

    Best Management Practices don't work in an environment with lack of good legislation, with good governance missing from the equation, with socio-economic factors outweighing science, with professional reliance, lack of accountability, with shareholders and profits as the most important bottom line. It isn't working for any aspect of land management, resource extraction or development in this province. BMP's alone do not work.

    User avatar
    [-] Bryn

    How about we look at true cost accounting and factor this in to the forestry equation? The loss of species, biomass, watershed integrity, ecological goods and services to adjacent communities, carbon sequestration, etc etc. ? In addition to amended forest policy, there should be an independent audit to review BC Timber Sales and their activities.

    User avatar
    [-] Tom

    This is something new? Its been around for many years and has had the unfortunate influence of "Professional Reliance". Looks where that has got us. Needs to have more teeth than a wolf or grizzly bear.

    User avatar
    [-] Scott

    Focus on the things we can change. What we appreciate, appreciates. We must apply a value to wildlife that is not so easily trumped by the value placed on timber. We must cease to log caribou habitat. We need to reduce linear features and deactivate roads (especially in-block roads) which increase impact from humans and predator efficiency. These roads vastly increase success by predators, making it easier for species such as wolves to prey upon caribou who are not well adept at using escape routes. Roads should be deactivated and replanted with a variety of hard and soft woods to ensure biodiverse rehabilitation that is suitable for caribou.

    Timber harvesters need to be incentivized to effectively deactivate roads and replant with a variety of ground cover.

    User avatar
    [-] Lorna

    "Caribou friendly approaches" would be to halt all industrial activity and recreational access in caribou habitat.
    With realities like the functionally extinct herd of South Selkirk Caribou, "harvesting to reduce impacts" is not an option.
    Forestry practices need to be radically reviewed and re-regulated.

    User avatar
    [-] Mark

    All industrial resource extraction activities in caribou management zones need to cease

    User avatar
    [-] Julie

    None of this addresses the fact that caribou habitat is destroyed by the Government of BC spraying herbicides on our forests to kill broad leaf vegetation and aspens to foster more dense growth of pine. The caribou (and moose and other species) need the broad leaf vegetation to live, and spraying it also weakens all wildlife as the chemicals damage their immune systems. You say you are protecting habitat while in fact you are destroying habitat.

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