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Silviculture Systems
......Extracting and replacing a living resource

Teacher Background - Part 1

THE FORESTS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

#1. WHO OWNS AND MANAGES THE FOREST LAND IN B.C.: (as of Dec.2005)

  • the public owns the land - this is referred to as Crown Land
  • 94% is publicly owned; 6% is owned privately
  • B.C.'s total area is 95 million hectares
  • 59 million hectares of this is covered by forests 33 million hectares of the 59 is set aside for parks, wilderness reserves and other classes other than forestry - this continues to expand
  • the area dedicated to growing timber is 26 million hectares - just over 1/4 of the total area of B.C. - 90% of this allocation is always free of active logging - every year, less than 1% is available for harvesting
  • in Canada, over 80% of seven provinces are provincially owned - in the other three provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick) less than half are owned by the province
  • in B.C. our government manages the forest through the Ministry of Forests (and Range) - this ministry works in cooperation with other ministries involved in: environment, tourism, First Nations and other natural resource value groups

#2. WHO IS ALLOWED TO CUT TREES AND USE THEM?

  • people who have a license agreement with the government have the right to operate on large tracts of provincially owned land
  • these agreements can be made by companies or by private individuals
  • the rights and responsibilities for the license holders are defined by the government
  • these licenses (long, medium and short term) vary from 1 month to one year up to 25 years
  • in B.C. many of the licenses last from 15-25 years and are replaceable providing all of the obligations imposed by the license are met. Some licenses are area based and some are volume based.

#3. WHO DETERMINES HOW MUCH TO CUT EACH YEAR AND HOW IS THIS DONE?

  • the Forest Service (MoF&R) decides this for each Timber Supply Area (TSA) and for each licensee
  • the annual allowable cut (AAC) on all public forest lands and privately managed forest lands are reassessed every five years
  • the Chief Forester must consider a wide range of values, uses and characteristics of the forest as well as the government's economic and social objectives
  • B.C. law requires that all provincial public lands be reforested - either naturally or by replanting - companies must pay for the reforestation
  • the survival rate of replanting is over 85%
  • companies negotiate operating areas amongst themselves and the Ministry of Forests (volume based licenses only)

#4. WHAT DOES IT COST TO HARVEST TIMBER?

  • STUMPAGE: the price paid for timber harvested on Crown Land
    (in '95 it was 1.7 billion dollars)
  • FOREST INVESTMENT ACCOUNT (FIA). - represents a portion of stumpage that is put into a special fund for projects, retraining of displaced forest workers, etc.

#5. HOW MUCH TIMBER CAN BE CUT EACH YEAR?

  • this is called "Cut Control"
  • as an example: In any one year any amount can be cut.
  • over a 5 year period, the volume harvested should balance to within +/- 10% of the AAC
  • it takes 3-5 years of planning prior to approval for logging
  • an exception to this would be if an area had been blown down or attacked by insect, disease or fire
  • all users of Crown Lands have "a say" in forest planning and all are encouraged to provide input for balancing the interests of water, visual landscapes, wildlife, fisheries, recreation, range, timber harvesting and silviculture activities

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