Public Influenence on Reforestation in British Columbia

About British Columbia

B.C.'s Physiography and Tree Species

The climate of British Columbia varies tremendously, ranging from almost Mediterranean conditions on some parts of the coast to sub-arctic conditions at high elevations and in the far north. Forests dominate the vegetation but there are also extensive areas of grasslands, scrub and tundra.

Figure 2
Figure 2. British Columbia has five broad physiographic regions, reflecting the great biological diversity present in the province.

B.C. has five broad physiographic regions, each representing a distinctive combination of climate, landform, vegetation, and soil (Figure 2). The commercial tree species vary significantly between these regions, reflecting the great biological diversity present in the province (Table 2, Appendix).

Importance of Forestry to British Columbia

About 85% of British Columbia is designated as "Provincial Forest" which is owned by the province and is managed for all resource values, not just timber.

Figure 3. Slightly more than one quarter of the area of British Columbia is considered forest land available for harvesting.

Not all Provincial Forest is actual forest land, however. About one-half of B.C. is covered in forest, and about one-half of this, or one-quarter of the entire province, is considered available and suitable for timber harvesting (Figure 3).

About 96% of the total forest volume of 8.6 billion m3 is coniferous 1, giving British Columbia approximately half of the national softwood inventory and 7% of the world softwood inventory (Council of Forest Industries, 1993).

In fiscal year 1993/94, almost 70 million cubic metres were harvested from 181 000 hectares . Eighty-seven per cent of the harvest was by means of clearcutting, with the balance being harvested through a variety of selection systems. More than 95% of the total harvest consists of lodgepole pine; several species of spruce, hemlock, and true fir; Douglas fir; and western red cedar.

Figure 4
Figure 4. B. C. is the source of a significant proportion of the world 's exported forest products.

Canada is the world's largest exporter of manufactured forest products, and British Columbia is a significant contributor to this, particularly in lumber exports (Figure 4). In 1991, B. C. shipped 34% of the world lumber, 10% of the world pulp, and 9% of the world newspaper exports (Council of Forest Industries, 1992 & 1993). B.C. forestry exports to other countries in 1992 were valued at $9.5 billion or 59 % of provincial exports (B.C. Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations, 1993). About twenty-five percent of B.C.'s pulp and paper exports, valued at close to $1 billion annually, goes to the European Community (Council of Forest Industries, 1993). Studies show that:

  • approximately 17% of the total provincial Gross Domestic Product in recent years can be attributed to the forestry sector (Forest Resources Commission, 1991) (Vancouver Board of Trade, 1994); 2

  • more than 130 communities in the province are largely dependent on the forest industry (White et al. 1986); and

  • one out of every six jobs in the province is directly or indirectly derived from forestry (Vancouver Board of Trade. 1994).

    1. 1 billion = I 000 000 000
    2 Includes direct, indirect and induced impacts.

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