Public Influenence on Reforestation in British Columbia

Summary and Concluding Remarks

Over the last 10 years there has been dramatic improvement in reforestation in British Columbia, responding to widely held public opinion that inadequate reforestation was unacceptable. New legislation demands that every area of managed Crown forest land harvested must be regenerated within strict time-frames, either naturally or by planting. With the aid of the biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification system, silviculture prescriptions are now resulting in higher seedling survival and growth.

By the end of 1994 approximately 3.4 billion trees have been planted on 2.9 million hectares (Figure 9), not quite one and one-half times the land area of Wales. More than 200 million trees are planted annually.

Due to the changes in policy and legislation, more area has been reforested than harvested in British Columbia each year since 1987 (Figure 10). It is expected that shortly after the year 2000 the regeneration program will be in balance with the area harvested, as all of the accumulated backlog NSR will have been eliminated and currently harvested areas must be regenerated by law.

Figure 9
Figure 9. The cumulative total of trees planted in British Columbia was 3.4 billion in 1994. At current rates, more than 1 billion trees are being planted ever 5 years.

Figure 10
Figure l0. More area has been reforested than harvested in B. C. each year since 1987.

In conclusion, it is evident from information presented in this paper that public opinion, when strongly and widely held, can bring about substantial change in forest policy and practices. In B.C. this has resulted in a program of full reforestation after harvesting, elimination . of the backlog NSR, and changes in forest practices as evidenced by the new Forest Practices Code. Perhaps most heartening, for those in the midst of what sometimes seems to be an endless series of demands, is that the public can indeed be satisfied. This is evidenced in British Columbia by the reduction in the level of concern over reforestation expressed through public opinion polls .

New challenges will continue to present themselves in the regeneration and management of British Columbia's forests, but there is now a solid foundation of success on which to build the future.


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