Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands

Frequently Asked Questions

What is government's zero net deforestation policy?
  • The Province has introduced a goal of zero net deforestation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure British Columbia's forests are protected for the future.

  • This means that if forest land is converted to other purposes, an equal amount of non-forest land must be converted to forested areas.

How will zero net deforestation be implemented?
  • The approach is that zero net deforestation will be achieved using existing incentives and raising awareness to promote voluntary action.

  • An area-for-area based approach will be used to determine net deforestation.  For example, if five hectares of forest land is cleared for a building project, then five hectares of suitable non-forest land should be converted to forest land elsewhere in B.C.

What are the incentives to participate and contribute to zero net deforestation?
  • Afforestation activities will be encouraged through a range of existing incentives, including tax reductions, carbon offsets and private funds.

  • A zero net deforestation incentives table with descriptions, summaries of financial benefits, and details on where to get more information is available online.

What are the main benefits and opportunities?
  • Zero net deforestation will help B.C. transition to a green low-carbon economy and take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Zero net deforestation will provide business opportunities for land owners (e.g. farmers) who choose to plant trees as afforestation.

  • Afforestation projects will provide significant benefits to the silviculture sector.  An average hectare of afforestation would create three days of silviculture employment.

  • Private landowners (ranchers for example) who choose to plant trees will incur co-benefits such as increased timber value and carbon credit value.

What types of land might be afforested?
  • On private land, the decision to afforest would be up to the landowner.  The use of Crown land for afforestation would be assessed through a land use planning process that considered the needs of different users and tenure holders.

  • Not satisfactorily restocked (NSR) areas, or vacant industrial land not slated for future development could be afforested under this policy.

How will suitable sites for afforestation be determined?
  • Area suitable for afforestation will be determined by individual landowners on private land, and through land use planning involving First nations and key stakeholders on Crown land.

  • Most of the afforestation opportunities are expected to be near rural communities across B.C.

  • Many grasslands and wetlands are considered endangered or rare ecosystems.  Afforestation would not be an appropriate nor desirable resource management approach for these ecosystems.

What is the current rate of deforestation in B.C.?
  • About 6,200 hectares on an annual basis.

  • Roughly 60 per cent of the deforestation occurs on Crown land and the other 40 per cent occurs on private land.

  • The zero net deforestation timeline chart shows historic rates and the goal to completely close the gap between deforestation and afforestation.

Isn't timber harvesting the same thing as deforestation?
  • No.  Deforestation occurs when land is taken out of forest use and converted to a different land use.

  • Timber harvesting in British Columbia is sustainably managed.  Sustainable forest management is not considered deforestation because, by law, harvested areas must be reforested after harvesting.

How will progress be monitored and reported?
  • Progress towards zero net deforestation will be reported biennially starting in 2012.

  • A reporting web-based tool will be developed where afforestation can be reported directly.

Has there been public and stakeholder input into zero net deforestation?
  • The Throne Speech commits the Province to work with First Nations, industry and communities to establish a viable zero net deforestation strategy.

  • A series of stakeholder engagement sessions was held around the province in June 2010.

  • An electronic response form has also been created to gather public feedback.