Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1995/96
Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1995/96 Table of Contents
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, forest health and noxious weeds biocontrol, and direction on seed operations. Staff also facilitate operational research and the appli-cation of new techniques to improve reforestation and forest management. In addition, branch personnel develop decision-making tools to assist forest managers and training packages for field operations staff, and provide Forest Practices Code implementation support.
In 1995/96, staff in the Silviculture Practices Branch finalized Forest Practices Code legislation and regulations and provided ongoing guidance through policy and pro-cedures. In cooperation with regional and district staff, branch personnel also produced 10 guidebooks that will assist with operational planning and implementation of the Forest Practices Code. To supplement the guidebooks, staff developed and coordinated training sessions during the year for operational field staff.
Silviculture Activities Overview
Silviculture activities can be grouped into four major categories:
- stand tending,
- forest health, and
- noxious weeds biocontrol.
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:
- surveying: taking inventory, prescribing silviculture treatments and determining fulfillment of reforestation obligations (Table D-1e),
- site preparation: preparing sites to promote natural regeneration and/ or facilitate planting (Table D-1f),
- seed collection (Table C-2k) and seedling production (Tables C-2l and C-2m): producing high-quality seed,
- planting: restocking denuded areas with seedlings (Tables D-1g, D-1h and D-1i),
- brushing: controlling competing vegetation to prevent the loss of planted or naturally regenerated seedlings, including treatment previously called conifer release (Table D-1j), and
- spacing: thinning dense stands to prevent growth limitations caused by overcrowding, and to leave target stand densities that will achieve specific stand-level objectives (Table D-1e).
Responsibility for reforestation
Reforestation is the responsibility of the company that harvested the area, or 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. There-fore, major licensees are 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 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, lands harvested under the SBFEP prior to January 1, 1988, and those denuded by fire or pests.
There were almost 957,000 hectares of not satisfactorily restocked (NSR) land in 1995/96, a decrease of more than 158,000 hectares from 1994/95. Of the 1995/96 NSR total, almost 75,000 hectares regenerated naturally. More than 200,000 hectares of Crown land were planted in 1995/96 (Table D-1g).
Changes in the status of not satisfactorily restocked Crown land are 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 tree value and quality (Table D-1e). Activities may include:
- surveying: assessing areas for their potential to benefit from stand-tending treatments and planning the appropriate stand-tending programs,
- juvenile spacing: reducing stand density to concentrate growth on a fewer number of selected trees,
- fertilizing: applying fertilizer to promote tree growth on sites deficient in soil nutrients,
- pruning: removing lower branches of selected trees to enhance wood quality and value, and
- commercial thinning: the partial harvesting of a stand of trees to accelerate the growth of the remaining trees.
In 1995/96, more than 1,000,000 hectares were surveyed for both reforestation and stand-tending activities, and more than 41,000 hectares of forest stands were spaced. Fertilizer was applied to approximately 6,500 hectares, and another 6,100 hectares of forest stands were pruned (Table D-1e).
Forest health activities may be undertaken during harvesting, reforestation and/or stand-tending phases. These activities are also conducted in stands not being immediately considered for other treatments, to reduce losses to defoliators and bark beetles. The purpose of forest health treatments is to prevent and control damage caused by disease, insects and other organisms (Table C-2p). Activities may include:
- surveying: to detect insects, diseases or other damaging agents,
- bark beetle treatments: including placing pheromone baits, establishing trap trees, felling and burning, or pesticide treatment of single-infested trees,
- applying biological insecticides: to control insect infestation, and
- other: treatments of root disease, leader weevils and porcupine damage.
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 most often funded under the sub-vote Forest Investment and FRDA II (see page 48).
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
While the estimated 287,000 hectares that were under attack by bark beetles and insect defoliators in 1995/96 represent just over half of what it was the year before (Table C-2n), the area under attack by bark beetles increased during 1995/96 by almost 40,000 hectares.
The estimated extent of pests and damaging agents on Crown land for 1995/96 is summarized in Tables C-2n and C-2o. Treatments to control bark beetle and defoliating insect damage are detailed in Table C-2p.
Noxious weeds biocontrol
The Ministry of Forests is responsible for maintaining and improving forest and range land in British Columbia. A major problem threatening the productive capability and ecology of some land administered by the ministry is the invasion of noxious weeds. The ministry uses a variety of methods to control the spread of noxious weeds, including chemical, manual, mechanical and biological techniques. Biological control methods have been used to prevent the spread of serious pests such as St. John's Wort, knapweed, leafy spurge, toadflax and rush skeletonweed Details on the insect releases for weed control in 1995/96 are provided in Table C-2q.
Silviculture activity funding
For the 1995/96 fiscal year, Table D-1e summarizes all silviculture accomplishments on Crown land funded by all sources.
Funding by the Ministry
Financial details of activities that are fully funded or cost-shared by the ministry are provided in Tables C-1, C-2, C-3, D-1, H-1 and I-1. Activities include:
- Provincial Silviculture programs (Table D-1d),
- FRDA II (the Canada - B.C. Partnership Agreement on Forest Resource
Development) (Tables D-2 and D-2a),
- the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program (Tables H-1 and H-4), and
- the South Moresby Implementation – Forest Replacement Account (Tables I-1 and I-2).
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-1d 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 their 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 8 on the following pages illustrate silviculture accomplishment trends on Crown land over the past 10 years.
Graph 1. Silviculture Surveys on Crown Land
Graph 2. Sire Preparation on Crown Land
Graph 3. Planting on Crown Land
Graph 4. Brushing on Crown Land
Graph 5. Juvenile Spacing on Crown Land
Graph 6. Fertilization on Crown Land
Graph 7. Cumulative Total of Trees Planted in British Columbia
Graph 8. number of Trees Planted Each Year in British Columbia