Act now: Wildlife and water over timber profits!

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Posted in:  Conservation, Wildsight

BC’s forests are being stripped bare for the profit of large corporations. 

The way we log in BC is destroying wildlife habitat, putting our rivers and communities’ water at risk, and clear cutting our ever-shrinking old-growth. Our forests are being managed in the interests of big corporations, not what’s best for our environment or communities.

It’s time to put wildlife, clean water and community interests above corporate profits. 

Until July 15, 2019, we have an opportunity to influence forest policy in BC.

The Forest and Range Practices Act, which determines how BC’s forests are managed, is up for review. Please take a few moments to tell the BC government how you think forests should be managed by filling out the online feedback survey

We encourage you to respond according to your own experience and values, but Wildsight has assembled a survey companion with some suggested answers to consider—see below.

Take the survey now.

 

Wildsight Survey Companion: Forest Range and Practices Act 

1. How should the Province identify opportunities and priorities for adapting forest management to a changing climate, such as mitigating the effects of beetle infestations, drought and fire?

  • Prioritize ecosystem values, including old and mature forests, wildlife and water in forest planning and management. Maintain the full complement of species and ecological processes.
  • Maintain and restore connectivity and reserve more areas from logging across the landscape.
  • Enhance watershed and riparian protection measures to ensure water quality, temperature, quantity and timing of flow are protected. Allow only management practices that maintain riparian shade.
  • Increase forest carbon storage by increasing the length of harvesting cycles (let trees grow longer before cutting) and eliminating old growth logging (which releases large amounts of stored carbon).
  • Stop slash burning and use alternative methods for dealing with waste generated by logging that protect our air and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Monitor range conditions and manage range and range tenures according to changing climatic conditions to protect sensitive grasslands and other grazing range, which are vulnerable to overgrazing and invasive plants in hot and dry conditions.

2. What factors should be considered in the planning of forest operations to reduce the risks of wildfire around your community?

  • Wildfire risk management must consider protection and enhancement of high ecological values such as important wildlife habitat, habitat of endangered species and species of concern, old forests and areas of cultural significance to indigenous peoples.
  • Encourage deciduous forests by reserving deciduous species and stop herbicide spraying of deciduous forest cover.
  • Protect communities and provide wildlife habitat by creating shaded fire breaks of open forest through partial cutting techniques and enhancing growth of deciduous species.
  • Eliminate clearcutting and monoculture planting.

3. A vital step in landscape-level planning is understanding what is important to the public. Based on what is important to you or your community, what information on the condition of resource values such as species-at-risk habitat do you think is necessary to support the planning process?

  • Mapping of existing state of the forest including species, age class; past, proposed and existing impacts from all licensees and tenure holders on the landscape
  • Mapping and assessment of ecosystem values such as wildlife habitat, old growth forests, habitat of species of concern.
  • Opportunities for carbon sequestration.
  • Possible impacts to water quality, temperature, quantity and flow.
  • Recreation values.
  • All land use tenures that could be influenced by logging.

4. How would you like to be involved in the planning process?

  • Forest plans at the landscape level (well in advance of site planning) and site plans (well in advance of commencement of any operations) should be available to the public and government staff.
  • There should be the opportunity for the public and ministry (habitat, wildlife, forest) staff comment to both the licensee and government decision maker before plans are approved. Comments by the public and those of government staff should be publicly available.
  • The statutory decision maker must have the opportunity to require changes or not approve plans based on information from the public and government staff. A rationale for decision, including response to comments, should be publicly available.

5. Resource roads are a valuable asset in the province as they provide access for the forest industry, ranchers, other resource users, and the public for commercial and recreation purposes. Yet, these same road networks are costly to maintain and have potential negative impacts on wildlife, water quality and fish habitat. What values do you believe are important to consider when planning new roads, road use and maintenance, and deactivation in your area?

  • Roads are the single greatest impact to water and wildlife from logging operations. Actively minimize road density so 60% of all landscape units lies more than 500 metres from open roads.
  • Make use of temporary roads wherever possible. Require rationale for any new permanent roads. Require road deactivation at 2:1 ratio when new roads are constructed.
  • Reduce incentives for road building and incentivize road rehabilitation (recontouring and planting).
  • Engineer roads and crossings to eliminate siltation of creeks and rivers.
  • No roads into intact, unroaded drainages.
  • Prioritize habitat connectivity in assessing road development.

6. How can the Province improve transparency and timelines of information regarding proposed operational and landscape-level objectives, plans and results?

  • Forest Stewardship Plans must be detailed and publicly available (online).
  • Landscape level plans and site level plans should be reviewed by the public and relevant ministry staff with at least 60 days for consultation before decision maker approval.

7. What information will help inform your feedback on plans that may impact you, your community or your business (e.g., maps of cutblocks and roads planned in your area, hydrological assessments, wildlife habitat areas or recreation opportunities, etc)?

  • All information noted under Q3 must be available, including up to date forest cover mapping and site information being used by industry in designing plans.
  • Information must be available on request from Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) staff regarding wildlife, fish, habitat, and water.

8. What additional values should be considered in FRPA that will allow us to manage forest and range practices in a better way?

  • Maintaining and restoring healthy, functioning ecosystems should take priority in all management. Remove the statement “without unduly reducing the supply of timber from British Columbia forests” from all FRPA objectives and regulations. Add “without unduly reducing the resilience of ecosystems” to timber and other land use objectives.
  • Make biodiversity and carbon storage priority objectives of FRPA.
  • Changes to FRPA should be guided by government commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) determinations must reduce the level of cut in order to address the need for additional reserves and management for ecosystem services and community values. More flexibility needs to be available in the form of cut exemptions or decreases where harvest to AAC levels is not ecologically or economically feasible.
  • Harmful pesticides such as glyphosate and round-up that have negative effects on human and ecosystem health must be banned from use in silvicultural practices.

9. In what ways should the province strengthen government oversight and industry accountability regarding forest and range activities to better address the challenges of climate change and the interests of all British Columbians?

  • Government capacity must be restored for oversight, decision making, monitoring and enforcement. Government must be in control of our natural resources on behalf of British Columbians.
  • Government staff must monitor the state of forests and range based on ecosystem based objectives to maintain healthy functioning ecosystems. Objectives for old and mature forests must fall within evidence-based natural ranges for all ecosystems and be applied across the landscape.
  • Grazing range condition should be assessed annually and tenure allocations adjusted appropriately.
  • Establish a provincial “Science Council” involving experts in both Western and Indigenous science to evaluate the condition of forest ecosystems and to establish biodiversity targets to be applied through landscape level planning.