Concern over lack of restocking the forests
The total area of BC’s provincial forests that may need to be restocked with healthy young trees could exceed current reforestation efforts by more than one million hectares, according to a Forest Practices Board report released today.
The report indicates that almost two million hectares of Crown forested land could potentially be “not satisfactorily restocked” (NSR). Of that, nearly half a million hectares will be restocked by industry and government has current plans to restock about a quarter of a million hectares.
“Decisions about whether to replant areas where mountain pine beetle and fire have killed most of the trees will have an impact on the future timber supply in the BC interior,” said Al Gorley, board chair. “At a minimum, if nature is left to take its course, the eventual crop of timber in those areas will be delayed.”
Government has a reforestation program for these areas, but to date it has only directed limited effort at re-stocking mature, beetle-affected forests because those areas might still be harvested – and eventually restocked – by the forest industry.
“There is a lot of debate about exactly how much forest has been damaged by fire and beetles,” said Gorley. “But the important question is, should we invest money now to ensure a healthy timber supply into the future, and, if so, how will we raise and invest it? But if action is to be taken, it must be taken quickly.”
The Board has made recommendations to government that it hopes will promote a useful dialogue on the topic of restocking British Columbia’s forests.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board can investigate and report on current forestry and range issues and make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.