Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1995/96


Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1995/96 Table of Contents

Sub-vote

Forest Investment and FRDA II

This sub-vote funds activities designed to enhance forest resources in order to increase and improve wood supply, range lands, recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat. It funds activities under:

The program-specific reports under the Forest Investment and FRDA II sub-vote are organized by these sections, on the pages that follow.

Section

Forest Investment

Funding under this section of the sub-vote supports stand-tending silviculture activities, and reforestation of lands denuded by pests and fire prior to 1987. It also funds range and recreation land enhancement, land information, and seed orchards and forest health activities.

Engineering

Refer to the Forest Resource Management sub-vote, section Resource Use, for details on Engineering (Access) activities during 1995/96 (page 46).

Range

Range staff provide leadership in managing the province's range resources and their use, and for tenure administration to clients inside and outside of the ministry. Internal clients include Operations staff in regions and districts, and the ministry executive. Outside clients include livestock producers, other ministries such as the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and the public.

1995/96 Highlights

Range staff have been heavily involved in helping develop the Forest Practices Code legislation and guidebooks on range practices and operational planning. During 1995/96, staff updated legislation, and contributed to code guidebooks on biodiversity and managing identified wildlife and riparian management areas. They also updated the range manual to reflect code changes, and produced a booklet on range and the code. Tenure documents were also updated.

Staff developed training material this year on range use plans, contributed to resource inventory procedures, and developed a strategic plan for range inventory. Information was also developed for range management for the treaty process.

During 1996/97, Range staff plan to produce training material on range land and riparian assessment, updated resource management procedures, resource mapping software, and park protocols.

Recreation

Opportunities are provided for outdoor recreation use throughout B.C.'s public forest lands from use in roaded recreation settings, to wilderness recreation use. The B.C. Forest Service works to ensure that recreation sites and other facilities are safe, sanitary, socially acceptable and environmentally sound. Although no fees are generally charged, millions of dollars of government revenues are derived from various taxes associated with expenditures by outdoor recreationists in provincial forests.

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.

Forest investments for recreation on B.C.'s public forest lands include investments for facilities like sites and trails. Some recreation projects have been supported by FRDA II (the Canada - B.C. Partnership Agreement on Forest Resource Development).

1995/96 Highlights

Recreation use

In 1995/96, an estimated 48 million residents and eight million non-residents visited B.C.'s public forest lands (about two-thirds in roaded areas, and one-third in roadless areas). Approximately half of all use occurred within the Vancouver Forest Region (Table D-1c). It is estimated that the recreation visits to provincial forests generated some $2.6 billion in expenditures in 1995/96 from residents and non-residents.

During this year, on-site management presence was increased at many Forest Service recreation sites to curb vandalism and rowdiness, primarily at sites in the Lower Mainland, in the Okanagan, and on southeastern Vancouver Island. Recreation was responsible for developing and managing additional interpretive forest sites, and more than 200,000 copies of forest district recreation maps were distributed to the public.

Recreation management

During this fiscal year, Recreation staff continued to participate in the Forest Practices Code initiative, and assisted in B.C.'s land-use planning process by providing technical information to Land and Resources Management Planning, and to the Protected Areas Strategy. Recreation staff also contributed to the ministry's integrated resource management planning process and the government's BC Heritage River System initiative.

Work continued to update the ministry's forest recreation inventory, including procedures and standards for inventory, to develop policy and procedures for establishing recreation sites, trains and interpretive forest sites and objectives, and to develop guidelines for cave management and forest interpretation. In addition, the Forest Practices Code Trails and Recreation Facilities Guidebook was completed.

Scenic landscapes

Work continued during this year to identify and assess visual values in visually sensitive areas, as well as to assess public perceptions of the visual effects of 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 assessments were carried out by forest licensees as well, and more than 1,000 of these were reviewed by Recreation staff.

In 1995/96, work continued on several important publications, including a strategy for managing visual resources consistent with code objectives, and the Forest Practices Code Visual Landscape Management Guidebook. Research was done to determine what site and stand variables best predict the achievement of a visual quality objective (VQO) under partial cutting silvicultural systems. Work began on developing policy for identifying scenic areas and establishing VQOs under the Forest Practices Code, and the scenic areas and VQOs information bulletins were released.

Wilderness

A survey of how residents use and value B.C.'s wilderness was completed in 1995/96, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Work continued on the Forest Practices Code Wilderness and Backcountry Recreation Guidebook, as well as on the Wilderness Management Plan for the Swan Lake Wilderness Area. Staff continued to monitor backcountry conditions in the northern Rockies, and in the Swan Lake Wilderness Area.

FRDA II

With the support of FRDA II, more than 100 recreation management projects were undertaken in 1995/96. Those included visual landscape inventories, visual landscape designs for cutblocks and roads in scenic areas, development and rehabilitation of interpretive forest sites, and preparation and printing of district recreation maps, recreation research publications, guidelines and training materials. (All FRDA II activities are detailed in the FRDA II 1995/96 Annual Report.)

Silviculture

Allocations under the Forest Investment section provide for silviculture activities that increase wood supply, and also enhance range land, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. These silviculture activities include seed production, reforestation and stand tending of areas that were denuded prior to 1987, and forest health treatments.

1995/96 Highlights

Seed orchards

Ministry of Forests seed orchards are managed to provide seed of higher genetic quality for ministry and licensee reforestation needs. The ministry grows seven tree species in more than 30 orchards on eight sites. Tables C-2l and C-2m list the ministry's seed orchard production for 1995 and the projected orchard production by species and seed planning zone respectively (the Seed Planning Zone map is shown on page 52).

Ministry seed orchards are administered and managed through the Interior Seed Orchard office located in the Kalamalka Forestry Centre, and the Coastal Seed Orchard office located at Saanich Seed Orchards. Industry-maintained orchards are licensed through these two offices. The ministry also offers cone and seed pest management services to ministry and industry orchards, and to collectors of natural- stand seed.

In 1995, Forest Renewal BC provided funding for incremental research and development projects in areas of orchard and seed pest management.

For related information on the ministry Tree Seed Centre and nursery operations, see the Silviculture information under sub-vote Forest Resource Management, section Resource Use (page 44). Details of the 1995/96 seed additions, withdrawals and inventory by species (seed orchards and natural stands) are given in Table C-2k.

In 1995/96, the Coastal Seed Orchards:

In 1995/96, the Interior Seed Orchards:

The provincial Seed Pest Management Program was divided into Coastal and Interior operations this year. In addition to their regular extension and crop monitoring duties, Seed Pest Management staff were involved in Forest Renewal BC-funded research projects.

As well as monitoring seed orchard and natural stand seed production and use, the ministry introduced new registration requirements for vegetative material in 1995. New procedures allow ordering of vegetative material through the Seed Planning and Registry (SPAR) Information System, as is permitted for seed.

Provincial Seed Planning Zone Map

Reforestation

The ministry funds activities to ensure that areas denuded prior to 1987 are regenerated to free growing. The following sub-programs are treated under the Forest Investment section (for obligation categories, see Table 6).

For 1995/96, Table D-1d summarizes reforestation activities funded under provincial Silviculture programs and the Forest Worker Development Program. Table D-1e provides details of activities under all funding sources.

Stand tending

The ministry funds stand management activities such as spacing, pruning and fertilizing through the Provincial Incremental sub-program. The intent of this sub-program is to improve the health, productivity and value of immature forest stands to meet a broad range of timber and non-timber resource objectives. For 1995/96, Table D-1d provides a summary of stand-tending activities.

Forest health

Forest health activities prevent or minimize damage caused by disease, insects and other organisms.

Forest health activities are necessary in some areas to ensure reforestation to free growing a basic silviculture responsibility of the ministry and licensees. The responsibility for treatment of infestations or damaging agents depends on their nature and location, and may accrue to the ministry, licensees or the federal government.

Often, forest health activities are an integral component of reforestation and stand tending. Treatments such as mechanical removal of infested tree roots are done as part of site preparation prior to planting or natural reforestation. Pruning of blister-rust-infected white pine is done during stand-tending treatments. Stand-tending treatments for forest health activities are usually funded under the Provincial Incremental sub-program.

Province-wide, bark beetles infested an area estimated at close to 165,000 hectares in 1995/96, so a considerable amount of harvesting activity is related to minimizing timber damage.

Under the Forest Health program, $8.2 million was spent in 1995/96 on bark beetle control and related surveys, including:

Treatments during 1995/96 to control bark beetles are summarized in Table C-2p.

An updated root-disease model was developed this year to evaluate impacts and treatments in southern Interior mixed-species forests. A needs assessment was also conducted, to identify forest health skills training required for implementation of the Forest Practices Code, and an introductory module was developed.

Other forest health activities in this year included surveys and treatment of root disease, leader weevils and porcupine damage. Estimates of timber damage and areas under attack by forest pests in 1995/96 are outlined in Tables C-2o and C-2n, respectively.


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