The B.C. government’s forest stewardship plans for Crown land are unenforceable, lack measurable results and are not producing innovative forest management, according to an investigation by the Forest Practices Board.
The board reviewed 43 stewardship plans from all regions of B.C., prepared under provincial law by tenure holders including forest companies and communities. There has been “no improvement” in problems identified by a similar review in 2006, said Forest Practices Board chair Tim Ryan.
“We are recommending that government not renew or approve any forest stewardship plans that don’t meet the standards set out in the Forest and Range Practices Act,” Ryan said.
The investigation found that many of the plans cover “vast and overlapping areas of the province, and were written using legal language that makes them very difficult for public understanding or review.”
NDP forests critic Harry Bains said the province still has “a self-governance model” for forest licence holders, and a previous report from B.C.’s Auditor General showed that the province’s forest inventory is out of date and unable to show what there is to protect.
The five-year plans are supposed to be approved after measurable and verifiable results and strategies are established and public input is obtained. Many have been extended without further public review and more are due for extension or renewal in the next year, the board says.
The board conducts independent investigations of Crown forest licences. Its reports and results of the latest province-wide investigation can bee found at www.bcfpb.ca.