The public is invited to provide input on a program that helps to ensure the sustainable management of private forests in B.C. until July 9, 2019.
“We want to hear from the public about whether there is room for improvement in the management of private forests and also whether the private managed forest land program is a benefit to private forest owners and the communities they live in,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The Private Managed Forest Land Program was established in 2003 with the introduction of the Private Managed Forest Land Act. Public input on the program is welcome until 4 p.m. on July 9, 2019. Feedback forms and more information are available: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/privatemanagedforest
The objectives of the review are to confirm the primary goals of the program, which are to encourage private landowners to manage their lands for long-term forest production and encourage sustainable forest management practices, including protecting key public environmental values. Government also wants to increase public awareness and understanding of the program.
The ministry will also meet directly with and accept written submissions from landowners, local government, First Nations and organizations and community groups that are directly impacted by activities on private managed forest land.
Of the 4.6 million hectares of private land in B.C., about 818,000 hectares — primarily located on southern Vancouver Island and the Kootenays — are managed as part of the Private Managed Forest Land Program and regulated under the Private Managed Forest Land Act and regulations.
Private forest owners participating in the private managed forest land program must comply with the Private Managed Forest Land Act and regulations, including protecting key environmental values.
“The Managed Forest Council is proud of our responsive role as regulators for private managed forest land, and we are pleased that a recent, multi-year review has resulted in regulatory amendments to more effectively protect drinking water quality on managed forest land,” said Rod Davis, chair of the Managed Forest Council. “The Province’s review of the program will further ensure that the program is meeting the needs of managed forest owners, local communities and residents.”
“As private landowners that have subscribed to the Private Managed Forest Program, our members have voluntarily chosen to have forest management activities held to a higher standard,” said Megan Hanacek, chief executive officer of the Private Forest Landowners Association. “We hope that this review increases the public’s awareness and acceptance of the program, and our long-term commitment to sustainable management of forests and key public values.”
Information gathered as part of the review will be used by the ministry to examine how well the program is meeting its goals and whether any changes are necessary to maintain public confidence in the program. A summary report will be ready in fall 2019.
Private Managed Forest Land Act: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/03080_01
BC Assessment Authority Managed Forest Land Class: https://info.bcassessment.ca/Services-products/property-classes-and-exemptions/managed-forest-classification-in-british-columbia/understanding-managed-forest-classification-in-british-columbia
Managed Forest Council: http://mfcouncil.ca
Private Forest Landowners Association: https://www.pfla.bc.ca
A backgrounder follows.