Visual Impact Assessment Guidebook

Table of Contents

Visual resource management:
legal and planning context

This section summarizes the legal and planning context for managing visual resources in three key operational plans: forest development plan, road layout and design, and silviculture prescription.

Forest development planning

A Forest Development Plan (FDP) is a document that describes and illustrates how harvesting and road development in a specific area will be managed (OPR Part 3). This plan provides the linkage between the objectives for forest resources approved in higher-level plans, or established by the district manager before submission of the plan, and on-the-ground operations. Further details about requirements related to forest development planning are laid out in the Operational Planning Regulation. Concerning visual resources, an FDP must include the following.

Before approving a plan or amendment, the district manager may require the licence holder to submit additional information to determine whether the plan or amendment will adequately manage and conserve the forest resources of the area (FPC Act Sect. 41(1)(b)). Green-up requirements may be varied through a higher-level plan or at the discretion of the district manager, and this information should also be reflected in the FDP (OPR Sect. 68(4) and (8) and THPR Sect. 9(2)(e). Category I cutblocks and Category I roads, while not part of the FDP, are useful tools for identifying the location of cutblocks and roads proposed for known scenic areas within the development plan area (OPR Sect. 19(1) and (2)). Referral agencies or the public may wish to provide comment(s) regarding block suitability at this stage.

Road layout and design

The primary purpose of a road layout and design is to provide the best road geometry and clearing widths to accommodate the vehicle sizes and traffic volume contemplated under operational plans and permits. Optimal road design should minimize the cost of construction, transportation, maintenance, and deactivation, as well as the impacts on other resources, such as visual resources. When any road layout and design occurs in a known scenic area, visual values must be considered. The following provisions are applicable in a road layout and design.

Silviculture prescription

A silviculture prescription (SP) is a site-specific plan that describes the forest management objectives for an area. Silviculture prescriptions must be consistent with the management objectives set out in a forest development plan or, in the absence of an FDP, in a higher-level plan (FPC Act 12(a)(i)). The purpose of the SP is to show how management activities will be carried out to accommodate identified resource values. The following provisions are applicable when preparing silviculture prescriptions.


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