Managed Forest Land is regulated under the Private Managed Forest Land Act. This legislation:

  • Establishes the Private Managed Forest Land Council (also known as the Managed Forest Council)
  • Establishes management objectives for key public environmental values
  • Provides procedures for private managed forest land application, withdrawal of management commitment, payment of exit fees, and annual declarations
  • Restricts local government from adopting by-laws or issuing permits that apply to private managed forest land if doing so would have the effect of restricting, directly or indirectly, a forest management activity
  • Provides compliance and enforcement provisions.

This legislation is primarily a “results-based” regulatory model. Instead of specifying rules for how land must be managed, management objectives are set for landowners. This allows landowners to develop and use management strategies most appropriate to the scale and geographic location of their operations.

Regulations under the act provide additional detail to support the Managed Forest Council’s administration of the program including provisions such as

  • Requirements for landowners regarding management of environmental values
  • Offences and fines for non-compliance with requirements established by the Council
  • Procedures for determining exit fees
  • Provisions for critical wildlife habitat for species at risk.

These regulatory requirements are in addition to provincial and federal environmental laws that apply to all private landowners. These laws include the Water Sustainability Act, Drinking Water Protection Act, Environmental Management Act, Wildlife Act, Wildfire Act, and federal Fisheries Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, and Species at Risk Act.

How are public environmental values protected?

The Private Managed Forest Land Act establishes management objectives for key public environmental values:

ValueManagement Objectives
Soil conservationProtect soil productivity where timber harvesting has been carried out by minimizing the area of permanent roads, trails and landings
Critical wildlife habitatFacilitate the long-term protection of critical wildlife habitat
Fish habitatProtect fish habitat by retaining sufficient streamside mature trees and understory vegetation both during and after harvesting
Water qualityProtect human drinking water, both during and after harvesting
ReforestationPromptly regenerate the areas with a healthy commercially valuable stand of trees that is not impeded by vegetative competition

The Private Managed Forest Land Council (also known as the Managed Forest Council) develops regulations, policies and field guides that set out the requirements and guidance on how landowners are expected to meet these objectives.

The Managed Forest Council is responsible for monitoring, inspecting and enforcing compliance with the requirements of the act and regulations. Outcomes of these inspections are reported on their website.

How does environmental regulation on private managed forest land differ from regulation on public forest land?

Public LandPrivate Managed Forest Land
Before any road building or harvesting activity can occur, a licence or permit must be issued by the Province under the Forest Act Landowner must file a commitment to use the property for production and harvesting of timber and associated forest management activities
Forestry activity is subject to requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and regulations.
• Establishes objectives for 11 resource values – soils; visual quality; timber; forage and associated plant communities; water; fish; wildlife; biodiversity; recreation resources; resource features; cultural heritage resources.
• Includes a comprehensive array of timber and non-timber objectives and practices requirements
Forestry activity is subject to requirements of the Private Managed Forest Land Act and regulations
• Establishes objectives for five key public environmental values – soil productivity; drinking water; fish habitat; critical wildlife habitat; reforestation
Major licence holders are required to submit a forest stewardship plan for approval by government
• Must be made publicly available for review and comment
• Must be shared and discussed with affected First Nations as part of the licensee’s obligation to First Nations consultation
Landowner is not required to submit a plan for approval by government or public review.
Sustainable harvest levels are established by the Province’s chief foresterLandowner is not constrained on level of harvest beyond commitment to protect environmental requirements.
Compliance and enforcement of standards is carried out by the provincial government.Compliance and enforcement of standards is carried out by the Private Managed Forest Land Council