On July 3, the B.C. Forest Practices Board proposed a new forward looking forest-planning process - described as the "missing link." This welcome proposal could provide direction to forest operations on public (Crown) land, which is 94 per cent of B.C. and a public asset of enormous importance and value.
To be effective and efficient, however, this new planning process will require:
outcomes based legislation. This proposed legislation (and regulations) would ensure both political accountability, while enabling practitioners the flexibility required in diverse situations to deliver competent results;
forest condition indicators (data), to measure the present condition of our forests, to establish success or failure;
an annual sustainability scorecard, to inform citizen owners whether we are winning or losing;
and effective corrective action, to contain the losses and restore ecological integrity, quality and value to ensure the multiple benefits from our magnificent forests can be secured and sustained.
The cost of not doing this would likely be more negative cumulative environmental effects and further reduction in B.C.'s overall forest economy - now only 2.5 per cent of the direct GDP and declining.
Done well, the benefits of this new forward thinking in forestry would be to reduce risk, add value and create options for society, especially important in this time of climate change.
If we do not control our own destiny, someone else will.
Ray Travers, RFP (Ret.)