Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1995/96
Appraisal policies and procedures are developed and maintained to determine stumpage rates. Most stumpage rates are determined by formulas based on site-specific timber data. Timber cruising determines the volume of standing timber before harvest in order to establish stumpage rates.
During 1995/96, Revenue Branch began development of the Scale Return Tracking System (SRTS). Once implemented, this system will track each scale return from its entry in the ministry, through to invoicing. The system will automate the scale return to invoicing reconciliation, and provide regions and districts with information about scale returns and invoices throughout the processing cycle.
Staff manage seedling production at the ministry's three nurseries, as well as transportation and cold storage of ministry seedlings. They also administer seedling contracts with private nurseries for provincial Silviculture programs, and develop and support information systems on seedlot registration and seedling requests. In addition, staff provide extension services to private seed collectors, nurseries and Christmas tree growers on seedling quality, operational trials, and nursery pest management.
All seed used for Crown land reforestation must be stored at the ministry's Tree Seed Centre; the centre extracts seed from cones, and registers, tests, stores and withdraws for use all seeds used for Crown land reforestation. These services are also available to licensees on a fee-for-service basis.
Under nursery operations, a total of 76.5 million seedlings were requested for provincial Silviculture programs and the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program in 1995/96. The three ministry nurseries shipped 27.5 million seedlings, and the remainder were shipped from contracted private nurseries. During this year, nursery staff also completed approximately 4,200 grafts for establishing seed orchards. Planting stock from tissue culture, produced for test and demonstration purposes, was established on several field sites in the Prince George area, in cooperation with Research Branch.
Ongoing work for nursery headquarters personnel included training non-ministry staff on the Seed Planning and Registry (SPAR) Information System.
Seed Planning Zone map
The map on page 52 provides an outline of the Coast and Interior Seed Planning Zones established by the ministry. Details of the ministry's seed orchard production in 1995/96 are given in Table C-2l, and projected seed orchard production is provided in Table C-2m.
Reforestation is carried out under this allocation to treat areas damaged by wildlife and pests. Silvicultural activities for areas damaged by pests are detailed in Table C-2p. Ongoing work includes surveys, site preparation, planting, brushing and spacing required for a stand to reach free growing. Please see Table D-1d for details of these activities during 1995/96.
Forest health activities for 1995/96 are listed in detail under sub-vote Forest Investment and FRDA II, in the section Forest Investment.
Timber harvesting licences and agreements
In 1995/96, more than 3,700 timber harvesting licences and agreements were in place. Approximately half of those were issued under the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program (SBFEP) (Table C-2f).
The volume of all products billed on all Crown lands was 66.3 million cubic metres, compared to 65.8 million cubic metres in 1994/95 (Table C-2b). The volume of all products billed on all tenures where harvest rates are regulated – excluding timber licences, licences to cut, and rights of way – was 63.4 million cubic metres, up from 63.1 million cubic metres in 1994/95. This compares with an allowable annual cut for these tenures, as of March 31, 1996, of 68.8 million cubic metres.
Issuing cutting authorities
A forest company holding a timber harvesting licence or agreement cannot proceed with harvesting until a series of operating plans for the management of timber and non-timber resources are approved, and until cutting authority is received from the ministry. Approximately 2,300 new cutting authorities were issued in 1995/96 (excluding those issued under the SBFEP), representing an increase of 27 percent from 1994/95.
The ministry also issues timber marks that authorize the removal of timber from private land. During the 1995/96 fiscal year, 7,058 timber marks were issued, and 8.8 million cubic metres of timber were harvested from private land. The volume of timber harvested from private land decreased by 0.5 million cubic metres from 1994/95.
It is expected that the areas and timber harvested in the 1996/97 fiscal year will be lower than those of 1995/96 due to the weaker markets for pulp and paper products.
In the coming year, staff will construct approximately 1,000 kilometres of new Forest Service roads. In addition, the ministry has begun a program to replace or restore temporary and dilapidated structures and major culverts on Forest Service roads. In cooperation with Forest Renewal BC and the forest industry, ministry staff intend to replace approximately 1,100 bridges and major culverts at a cost of $70 million over a five-year period. Forest Renewal BC has agreed in principle to fund this program.
Timber that is transported from cutblocks to authorized scale sites is carefully monitored to ensure that all harvested timber is delivered and scaled. Ministry scalers conduct check scales, and monitor scaling operations and scale sites to make certain that all harvested timber is accurately scaled.
In addition, Forest Revenue Inspection Teams investigate major revenue risks, assist forest districts in ensuring that forest revenue is properly managed and controlled, and conduct investigations.
Also in this year, Revenue Branch initiated an Electronic Data Inter-change (EDI) pilot program with companies in the forest industry. The purpose of EDI is to enable the ministry to receive scale data directly from industry sites, and in return, to provide the forestry company with a EDI stumpage invoice. The pilot phase has been successfully completed, and the ministry is now expanding EDI.
The branch ensures that the ministry's legislative and regulatory programs are enforceable and are perceived as effectively enforced in a fair and equitable manner. Branch staff provide support, training and assistance to field staff involved in monitoring and enforcing compliance with the code. In addition, branch personnel maintain and provide statistical analysis of the ministry's compliance and enforcement data-base. The branch also provides assistance on enforcement matters to other ministries, the Forest Practices Board, the Forest Appeals Commission, and the Ombudsman.
Compliance and Enforcement staff also work in partnership with personnel from the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, and the Ministry of Employment and Investment to enforce the Forest Practices Code.
The ministry views enforcement as only one aspect of compliance, and undertakes to promote compliance, as opposed to just looking for opportunities for enforcement. However, where necessary, officials have the authority to and will pursue appropriate enforcement activities.
The four elements in promoting compliance are:
The first three elements comprise the ministry's compliance and enforcement mandate. The fourth is part of the mandate of the Forest Practices Board.
(Full details of the Compliance and Enforcement Branch mandate are available from the branch office, or through the ministry's Public Affairs Branch.)
For the first time, with ERA, the Ministry of Forests can now track potential contraventions of the code, investigations, confirmed contraventions, enforcement actions taken, and reviews and appeals, all in one database. ERA makes the decisions of ministry staff on the performance record of licensees and individuals available to all forest districts, which allows for fair, equitable and consistent enforcement actions between districts. It also helps decision- makers determine when progressive disciplinary action may be required.
Ministry monitoring activities are reported in Table C-3a. Table C-3b, "Contraventions on Crown Land from June 15, 1995 to March 31, 1996, Alphabetically by Major Licensee" is a subset of statistics provided in The Annual Report of Compliance and Enforcement Statistics for the Forest Practices Code, June 15, 1995 - June 15, 1996, available from the ministry's Public Affairs Branch.