Dear Minister Donaldson:
Re: Public Engagement on Amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act
As part of government’s public consultation on proposed amendments to FRPA, the Forest Practices Board is pleased to submit our comments on the need for modernized planning under FRPA. The Board is recommending that government adopt a tactical forest planning process to direct forestry operations on Crown land, as described in a special report that was published today and is available on our website.
For more than 20 years the board has called for improved planning and objectives at the landscape and watershed scales. Recent board work has confirmed that forest stewardship plans, despite considerable energy and effort to develop and approve, do not address the need for planning for multiple forest values across the landscape.
The process recommended by the Board would take broad objectives from land use plans and translate them into a plan for achieving the desired future forest on a specific area of land. The Board suggests the process must be inclusive of Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the public, integrate all forest values, be place based and forward looking, be embedded in the forest management system and include monitoring and continuous improvement over time.
The need for landscape level planning is more critical now than at any time in the past, as forest resources are increasingly affected by the cumulative effects of multiple developments and natural disturbances due to climate change.
Planning is a complex process and there is limited experience with this form of planning in BC. It will take time to build the appropriate models and tools to implement and we encourage the public and all stakeholders to bring their creativity and innovation to bear on efforts to improve forest planning in BC.
I look forward to discussing our recommended approach with you and your staff in the coming months, as amendments to FRPA are developed.