Province Responds to Mid-Term Timber Supply Report

Forests Minister Steve Thomson announced that the Province is prepared to act in response to the report and recommendations of the Special Committee on Timber Supply. In Beyond the Beetle: A Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan, the Province has indicated that it will look to increase the mid-term timber supply and utilize timber for other bio-energy purposes. Key elements of the Action Plan include proposed new legislation to convert volume-based forest licences to area-based forest licences, and the establishment of a new supplemental forest license to advance bioenergy opportunities. Other highlights include:
  • development of a 10-year forest inventory strategy;
  • undertaking innovative silviculture practices to grow more trees, faster;
  • landscape fire management planning to reduce fire risk; and
  • consideration only to be given to harvesting in areas set aside for old growth, wildlife and scenic values if it is scientifically and ecologically sound to do so, and the support of local communities and First Nations has been provided.
With respect to the latter the Province has indicated that it will develop a framework for a science-based review of sensitive areas. This framework will be discussed with local governments, First Nations and stakeholders in early 2013 and be piloted in high-priority areas such as Quesnel and Burns Lake.

In response to the Special Committee's recommendation on wildfire risk, the Province signalled its continuing support for UBCM's Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, which funds strategies and activities to reduce the forest fuel hazard in the wildland-urban interface. The Wildfire Management Branch has also recently initiated landscape-level fire management planning.

The Province will also assess the feasibility of re-establishing monitoring committees for land and resource management plans (LRMPs) in the highest priority areas impacted by the mountain pine beetle. And, in the longer term, the ministry indicated that it will undertake community-based engagement on resource management that incorporates the monitoring of land use plans and allows for public engagement on a number of natural resource management initiatives.

In its submission to the Special Committee [PDF - 196 KB], UBCM cautioned that precisely because LRMPs have been secured after extensive debate and consultation, any potential changes must be done with care, recognizing and respecting the decisions that have been made. At a minimum, UBCM noted, it was imperative that the affected LRMP parties be fully engaged and consulted.

UBCM's submission indicated support for enhanced silviculture and reforestation efforts; measures to reduce the fire risk; support for bio-energy opportunities; greater community consultation around resource allocation decisions; and more economic development opportunities and assistance to support those communities in transition.

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