The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations drafted a land use order amendment to replace Old Grown Management Areas (OGMAs) that were salvage harvested due to trees being damaged by the Mountain Pine Beetle. The boundaries of some of the relevant ecosystem units were updated which in some areas, affected the OGMA requirements causing shortfalls or surpluses within those areas.
The public were invited to review and comment on the proposed boundary amendments for permanent and temporary Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs) in the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District, which covers about 1.24 million hectares in the southern Interior; extending from Clinton in the south to Hendrix Lake in the north and from the Fraser River in the west to Bonaparte Lake in the east.
Old Growth Management Areas help protect the biological diversity of old-growth forests by ensuring that stands of different ecosystem types are protected. These areas are excluded from commercial timber harvesting, which helps to preserve plant ecosystems, wildlife habitat and cultural values. The proposed amendments to the OGMAs are to replace areas that have been impacted by the mountain pine beetle and associated harvesting of trees infested by mountain pine beetles.
Under the Land Use Objective Regulation, stakeholders and the public are given the opportunity to comment on all proposed non-urgent Land Use Objectives. By commenting, citizens help to protect the biodiversity of B.C.’s old
January 28 to March 31, 2016
Forest licensees and BC Timber Sales were consulted throughout the process in order to avoid overlapping proposed OGMAs with planned forest development. Several members of the trapping community expressed concern over removing specific OGMAs in their trapping territory in order to reconcile an OGMA surplus. Local residents visited the office to view a hard copy of the OGMA amendment map and ask questions about the process. There were no concerns brought forward by the public after viewing the map.
Input leads to action:
Based on the comments that were submitted throughout the consultation process, refinements were made to specific Old Growth Management Areas. The main concern of the Trappers that responded was to protect large areas of mature forest for wildlife habitat. Through discussions with the individual Trappers, the Province was able to adjust the planned deletions to help protect large areas of intact old growth and maintain connectivity for wildlife corridors. These OGMA adjustments required another round of consultation with forest licensees to ensure that there was no impact to forest development already in the works.
Although this process did not change policy or legislation, it did provide a good example and reminder on the importance of meaningful public/stakeholders input and engagement to support balanced durable resource management decisions. Learnings from this process have included enhancements to communication using government websites, creating communication factsheets on specific issues, and being open to creative solutions to accommodate multiple objectives and interests to the extent possible.