Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1994/95
The structure of this new sub-vote reflects the activities of the districts, regions and headquarters branches engaged in managing the use of the provincial forest and range land base. This sub-vote funds the following activities:
The program-specific reports under the Forest Resource Management sub-vote are organized by these sections, on the pages that follow.
This section of the Forest Resource Management sub-vote funds land use planning activity in support of Land and Resource Management Plans, Local Resource Use and CORE (Commission on Resources and Environment) Plans, Protected Areas Strategy, Timber Supply Review, and land and inventory information, aboriginal issues, and research and development associated with resource utilization.
Aboriginal Affairs staff provide leadership for and advice on the overall coordination and formulation of ministry relationships with First Nations. This extends to involvement in pre-treaty analysis, interim measures and treaty negotiations, and aboriginal policy development.
One of four branches in the Policy and Planning Division, Aboriginal Affairs was created as part of the October 1994 ministry reorganization process. Two units within the branch provide specific support for the treaty process, develop and implement policy on aboriginal rights, increase opportunities for aboriginal involvement in the forest section, and administer traditional use studies.
During 1994/95, Aboriginal Affairs staff provided significant support to the treaty negotiations with the McLeod Lake Indian Band and the Nisga'a Tribal Council, and coordinated the development of the government's response to the First Nations Forestry Council Strategic Plan recommendations. Staff also advised provincial treaty negotiators on the forestry implications of various treaty scenarios, including resource harvesting and manufacturing, revenue implications and analysis, mapping services, and forest policy and operational matters. Branch staff also participated in the joint federal/provincial working group that negotiated Interim Measures Agreements with First Nations and negotiated the implementation of the Cost Sharing Memorandum of Understanding for treaty settlement costs.
In this year as well, branch staff developed a Protection of Aboriginal Rights Policy in response to the Delgamuukw Appeal Decision. Training and guidance were provided for ministry staff throughout the province, and Aboriginal Affairs staff continued to develop and administer programs to expand First Nations participation in the forest industry, and to increase aboriginal business development skills and expertise.
Aboriginal Affairs helped develop guidelines for traditional use studies in 1994/95, and played a part in their coordination. Staff input also assisted in the management of archaeological resources that may be impacted by forest development activities.
Recreation management involves the inventory, planning, allocation and stewardship of recreation resources, including scenic landscapes and wilderness throughout B.C.'s public forest lands. These lands include all provincial forest lands, and all other provincial Crown lands outside of parks and settled areas.
During this fiscal year, Recreation staff participated in the Forest Practices Code initiative, and assisted in B.C.'s land use planning process by providing technical information to the Commission on Resources and Environment, to Land and Resources Management Planning, and to the Protected Areas Strategy. Recreation also contributed to the ministry's integrated resource management planning process. During 1994/95, work continued to update the ministry's forest recreation inventory, and to develop policy and management guidelines for cave and karst resources and forest interpretation. Staff also completed the Recreation component of the 1994 Forest, Range & Recreation Resource Analysis.
Work continued during this year to identify and assess visual values in visually sensitive areas, as well as to assess public response to clearcutting. Visual landscape inventory work also continued: to date, inventories have been completed on approximately 40 per cent of the province's visually sensitive areas. Visual impact assessments were carried out by forest licensees as well, and more than 1,000 of these were reviewed by Recreation staff.
In 1994/95, work continued or was completed on several important publications, including the visual landscape design training manual, and guidebooks on visual landscape management and visual impact assessment.
A survey of how residents use and value B.C.'s wilderness was conducted in 1994/95, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Work continued on a guidebook for wilderness and backcountry recreation, as well as on the Wilderness Management Plan for the Swan Lake Wilderness Area. Backcountry conditions were monitored in the Spruce Lake area, in the northern Rockies, and in the Height-of-the-Rockies and Swan Lake Wilderness Areas.
Continuing research by Ministry of Forests scientists reinforces the notion that each forest is a complex system an interdependent web of soil, water, vegetation and animal life. Any change in the way we harvest or manage the forest has an impact on the balance of the ecosystem. Predicting the consequences both environmental and economic of such changes is one of the primary goals of the ministry's Research program. Improving our knowledge of forests and our interaction with them will allow us to make better decisions for all British Columbians.
Research program staff provide technical advice and scientific knowledge to help guide forest policy, resolve forestry issues and create a sound ecological basis for resource management. The program focuses on silviculture research for forest renewal and timber production, as well as research for sustainable and integrated resource management.
In 1994/95, Research accomplishments included numerous publications, among them a report on biodiversity and forest management in the Prince Rupert Forest Region, the landmark publication Plants of Coastal B.C., an illustrated key to the lichens of B.C., and a field guide to the biological control of weeds in the province. Program staff also established a draft classification framework for wetland and riparian areas, facilitated training workshops on the ecosystems of B.C., and produced a summary of western yew biology and recommendations for management. Growth intercept models were developed for lodgepole pine in the Sub-Boreal Spruce biogeoclimatic zone, and staff refined SYLVER, a computer model designed to help forest managers evaluate the impact of silviculture practices on yield, timber value and economic return.
Resource planning sets objectives and provides strategies to guide the future management and sustainable use of public land and resources throughout the province. Ministry staff prepare and review plans for managing and developing timber, range and recreation resources on provincial forests at regional, sub-regional, local and operational planning levels.
Participation in resource planning by the public and First Nations is encouraged at all levels. Planning promotes cooperation and communication among clients and offers a way to balance competing demands for a variety of resources on a limited land base.
Ministry resource planning activities in 1994/95 included policy, technical, communication and training support for strategic regional and sub-regional land use plans, and for landscape and operational plans under the Forest Practices Code.
Resource planning staff provided technical support for the implementation of three regional plans, and ongoing development of 12 sub-regional land and resource management plans (LRMPs) during this year. Staff also prepared numerous local resource plans, initiated pilot projects on landscape planning under the Forest Practices Code, and consolidated policy and procedures for operational planning under the code. Technical support was continued for the Commission on Resources and Environment, the Land Use Coordination Office, the Protected Areas Strategy and ministry headquarters, as well as for regional and local interagency planning bodies.
Resources Inventory staff provide inventory data to forestry planners in all sectors. In particular, the chief forester depends on the Forest Service's comprehensive inventory of B.C.'s timber, recreation and range resources in determining the allowable annual cut for timber supply areas (TSAs) and tree farm licence (TFL) areas through the Timber Supply Review process. In providing this information, Resources Inventory contributes directly to improved forestry practices, resource management, and planning.
In 1994/95, data provided to clients included digital graphic files with inventory data that included forest stand growth, yield, volume and decay estimates and projections.
Pre-inventory assessments were completed on 478 map sheets in 1994/95. On completed inventories, 15 inventory audits and 200 area-volume and other statistical reports were done. The ministry re-inventoried 4.4 million hectares during 1994/95. The Air Photo Interpretation Certification Program was coordinated to ensure the continuance of the expertise needed to conduct re-inventories. A comprehensive inventory of all vegetation was designed, as recommended by the Forest Resources Commission, and procedures and field tests were implemented. Among others, the new vegetation inventory classification and sampling components were tested.
More than 2,500 map sheets or about 35 per cent of the provincial forest land base were digitally updated for depletions during 1994/95. Twenty-five TSA area-volume data files were assembled from map sheets for the Timber Supply Review. The first nine of 21 assembled files were 'rolled-over' to the new Forest Inventory Planning (FIP) format.
The digital capture (updating) of forest cover maps for disturbances was previously completed through the contracting community. Beginning in 1992/93, the updating function moved 'in-house' in three pilot forest districts. By the end of 1994/95, 33 districts were updating in-house. The 10 remaining districts will follow in 1995/96.
Also in mapping, ministry work continued during 1994/95 to generalize the existing 1:20,000 scale forest cover maps to a scale of 1:250,000. In May 1994, the Queen Charlotte Islands forest and image map was released. Designed for broad, overview planning, this map was derived from Landsat 5 satellite imagery and processed to give a 'true color' appearance of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Growth and yield
Growth data collected and processed by the B.C. Forest Service makes up a database that is used to predict changes in forest stands. The program also provides growth and yield information and analyses to clients. Significant accomplishments this year included standard volume and taper equation coefficients for all commercial species by biogeoclimatic zone, and the development of paired-plot methodology.
Development work continued on several projects, including an operational handheld computer data capture system.
Work continued in 1994/95 to develop a relational database for growth and yield samples and the vegetation inventory (see below). Staff in this area were also involved with the Resources Inventory Committee in developing common standards and procedures for gathering and
using inventory data, with the Forest Practices Code in mind, and anticipating the needs of Forest Renewal BC.
The inventory audit program was piloted in 1992. Results of inventory audits are used primarily to guide future re-inventory program priorities, but are also important in timber supply analysis.
Inventory audits are complete on nearly half of all provincial TFLs and TSAs, and the program is on track for audit completion of the entire province excepting certain Vancouver Region TFLs by 1998. In 1995, audits were conducted within seven TSAs and nine TFLs, and reports were published for 15 inventory audits completed in 1994.
The Forest Resources Commission has identified the importance of and need for an updated and integrated approach to all forest resources inventories. In response to this recommendation, the Vegetation Inventory Working Group developed and tested procedures for a new vegetation inventory in 1994.
Asean Institute of Forest Management (AIFM)
The ministry continued to manage the AIFM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, under contract with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). All funding for this project is recoverable through CIDA.
Allocations under this sub-vote and section fund the Silviculture Practices Branch headquarters activities. The branch is responsible for providing policy and procedures on silviculture practices and forest health, and direction on seed and nursery operations. Staff also facilitate operational research and the application of new techniques to improve reforestation and forest management. In addition, branch personnel develop decision-making tools to assist forest management, as well as training packages for field operations staff, and provide Forest Practices Code implementation support.
In 1994/95, Silviculture Branch worked to finalize Forest Practices Code legislation and regulations, and to provide ongoing guidance through policy and procedures. In cooperation with regional and district staff, branch personnel also produced 23 guidebooks in preparation for the Forest Practices Code. After wide review, these guidebooks will assist operational planning and implementation when the Forest Practices Code is brought into force. During this year, the branch also developed and coordinated training sessions for operational field staff, to supplement the Forest Practices Code guidebooks.
Silviculture activities can be grouped into three major categories:
By law, all Crown land harvested in British Columbia since 1987 must be reforested within a specific time frame with a crop of healthy, ecologically suitable species. Under the Forest Act, this is termed basic silviculture. Reforestation is also undertaken on areas affected by fire and pests, and areas that were harvested prior to 1987.
To reforest an area, some or all of the following activities are necessary:
Responsibility for reforestation
The responsibility for reforestation rests with the company that harvested the area, or with the province, depending on the date of harvest and land tenure.
Amendments to the Forest Act in 1987 made reforestation to a free-growing standard the obligation of everyone who harvests Crown timber. Major licensees are therefore responsible, at their own expense, for basic silviculture on areas harvested after October 1, 1987. Under the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program (SBFEP), basic silviculture on areas harvested after January 1, 1988 is funded by the SBFEP Special Account, and is implemented by the ministry.
On lands that were harvested by major licensees between 1982 and October 1, 1987, reforestation activities are funded by the ministry, but implemented by licensees under the Industry Outstanding program.
Through the Ministry Outstanding program, the ministry funds and implements reforestation activities on lands harvested prior to 1982, on lands harvested under the Small Business Enterprise Program prior to January 1, 1988, and on lands currently denuded by fire or pests.
A summary of the changes in the status of not satisfactorily restocked Crown land is presented in Table 6.
In addition to reforestation activities, the ministry and major licensees may also conduct stand tending activities to enhance tree growth and improve wood value and quality (Table D-1d). Activities may include:
Forest health activities may be undertaken during reforestation and/or stand tending phases. The purpose of forest health treatments is to prevent and control damage caused by disease, insects and other organisms (Table C-2r). Activities may include:
Treatments such as root disease eradication, which are necessary to ensure reforestation to free growing, are required as a part of the basic silviculture responsibility. Stand tending treatments for forest health purposes, such as pruning blister-rust infected white pine, or spacing a stand to remove mistletoe, are usually funded under the Provincial Incremental sub-program.
Responsibility for treating widespread infestation or damaging agents depends on their location and nature, and may fall to the ministry, the licensees, and/or the federal government.
For 1994/95, the estimated extent of pests and damaging agents on Crown land for 1994/95 is summarized in Tables C-2p and C-2q. Treatments to control bark beetle and defoliating insect damage are detailed in Table C-2r.
For the 1994/95 fiscal year, Table D-1d summarizes all silviculture accomplishments on Crown land funded by all sources.
Funding by the ministry
Activities that are fully funded or cost-shared by the ministry (Tables C-1, C-2, C-3, D-1, H-1 and I-1) include:
Activities funded by non-ministry sources (funding not reported) include silviculture activities conducted by major licensees to meet their basic silviculture obligations. Major licensees may also voluntarily conduct stand tending activities on some areas (Table X-1).
Entry- and bridging-level accomplishments conducted under the Forest Worker Development Program (Tables D-1c and X-2) over and above the minimum targets are funded by the Ministry of Skills, Training and Labour, and the Build BC Special Account.
Forest Renewal BC funded reforestation and stand tending activities under the Enhanced Forestry Program. Activities are summarized in Table X-3.
Other reported activities include the Forest Corrections Inmate Work Agreement, federal job creation programs, and volunteer work done by community groups (Table X-2).
Graphs 1 through 9 on the following pages illustrate silviculture accomplishment trends on Crown land over the past 10 years.