Tracking Forest Harvesting Activities in British Columbia

Guest Blog by Tim Salkeld, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Forest Analysis and Inventory Branch


What’s This About?

Getting an accurate picture of where and when harvesting occurs in British Columbia’s forests normally requires looking at number of data sources in the BC Geographic Warehouse (BCGW).  The Forest Inventory provides the harvest year; the RESULTS datasets tracks silviculture obligations for the Crown;  Forest Tenures Approvals indicates some cut blocks not yet entered into RESULTS; and finally, where all else fails there is satellite imagery and change detection analysis providing a year by year snapshot of what has changed on the landscape.  What starts out as a simple question of “where has harvesting occurred” quickly becomes complex with overlapping shapes, duplication and attribution inconsistencies.


New Improvements

The Forest Analysis and Inventory Branch  of the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations  has for the last few years created an integrated data product from the data sources mentioned above for use in timber supply analysis. This product provides the year of harvest and a spatial representation of the cut blocks and its data source. This ‘disturbance layer’ has been used in a number of other analyses including the Cumulative Effects work being done around the province’s natural resource industry. Potential uses for this information include quantifying the harvest footprint on B.C.’s forests, analyzing wildlife habitat, monitoring the change in forest structure over time, and planning future harvest opportunities.

The logical next step for this data product was to publish it to the BCGW and to take full advantage of the BC Data Catalogue, Data Distribution and on line mapping visualization tools such as iMapBC.  This is now complete and we are excited to release the new Harvested Areas of BC dataset, also known as “consolidated cut blocks”, for public use.

As with any dataset of this type there may be errors and omissions and a need for continual improvements. This dataset will be maintained and published annually. If you find things that you would like to have improved please contact us.

If you have not already checked it out, please take a look at: