Visual Impact Assessment Guidebook

Table of Contents



This guidebook has been prepared to help forest resource managers plan, prescribe, and implement sound forest practices that comply with the Forest Practices Code.

Guidebooks are one of the four components of the Forest Practices Code. The others are the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, the regulations, and the standards. The Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act is the legislative umbrella authorizing the Code's other components. The Code establishes mandatory requirements for planning and forest practices, sets enforcement and penalty provisions, and specifies administrative arrangements. The regulations lay out the forest practices that apply province-wide. The chief forester may establish standards, where required, to expand on a regulation. Both regulations and standards are mandatory requirements under the Code.

Forest Practices Code guidebooks have been developed to support the regulations, but they are not part of the legislation. The recommendations in
the guidebooks are not mandatory requirements, but once a recommended practice is included in a plan, prescription, or contract, it becomes legally enforceable. Guidebooks are not intended to provide a legal interpretation of the Act or regulations. In general, they describe procedures, practices, and results that are consistent with the legislated requirements of the Code.

The information provided in each guidebook is intended to help users exercise their professional judgement in developing site-specific management strategies and prescriptions designed to accommodate resource management objectives. Some guidebook recommendations provide a range of options or outcomes considered acceptable under varying circumstances.

Where ranges are not specified, flexibility in the application of guidebook recommendations may be required to adequately achieve land use and resource management objectives specified in higher-level plans. A recommended practice may also be modified when an alternative could provide better results for forest resource stewardship. The examples provided in many guidebooks are not intended to be definitive and should not be interpreted as the only acceptable options.

Abbreviations used in this guidebook

DTM – Digital Terrain Model

EVC – Existing Visual Condition

FDP – Forest Development Plan

RLD – Road Layout and Design

RP – Road Permit

SP – Silviculture Prescription

VAC – Visual Absorption Capability

VEG – Visually Effective Green-up

VIA – Visual Impact Assessment

VLI – Visual Landscape Inventory

VLU – Visual Landscape Unit (Old Standard)

VQC – Visual Quality Class

rVQC – Recommended Visual Quality Class

VQO – Visual Quality Objective

VRM – Visual Resource Management

VSC – Visual Sensitivity Class (New Standard)

VSR – Visual Sensitivity Rating (Old Standard)

VSU – Visual Sensitivity Unit (New Standard)


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