B.C. amends forest management regulations, adds transparency requirements
June 27, 2023 By CFI staff
B.C. has introduced amendments to its forest management regulations that will add transparency to forest licences, legal protection for rare habitats, and increased management of recreation sites and trails, the government said.
Under the new regulations, licensees will publish forest operations maps, including proposed cutblocks and roads, and make them available to public feedback.
The province has developed an optional web-based tool for companies to display maps and invite public feedback, and plans to launch it fully next year. BC Timber Sales as well as some forestry companies in the province are currently testing the mapping portal.
“Providing people with an easy, user-friendly tool to view maps of local forest operations will help to promote transparency and information sharing,” Jennifer Gunter, executive director of the BC Community Forest Association, said in the province’s news release. “Forest operations maps have the potential to improve public confidence in our sector across the province.”
A new regulation under the Forest and Range Practices Act will establish a new protected habitat category known as Ecological Communities, designed to increase protection for rare and endangered species and habitats.
B.C. Forests Minister Bruce Ralston said in the release the amendments to forest management are important to British Columbians. “We are boosting forest conservation to better support ecosystem health, including rare and critical habitat,” he said. “Opening the planning process to the public through the use of new digital tools will engender greater public trust and ensure forest resiliency.”
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