Backsliding on the B.C. Backlog?

The newly amended B.C. Forest Practices Code, the interim rules that will likely shape the future Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) regulations, is a little weak on the backlog.

Backsliding on the B.C. Backlog?

The newly amended B.C. Forest Practices Code, the interim rules that will likely shape the future Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) regulations, is a little weak on the backlog. The old NSR backlog is now relegated to the discretionary (and underfunded) Forest Investment Account. At the same time provisions that effectively compelled the Crown to remedy areas damaged by wildfire, pest and disease have been deleted. In fact the term backlog is no longer defined in the amended Code.

The backlog now exists in a kind of regulatory no-man’s-land. This coming at a time when remnants of the old NSR lands are still around, an estimated 2.4 million hectares of impeded stands may be accumulating, more than three million hectares of forest are under threat from pest and disease and foresters are predicting an overdue season of unnaturally intense and extensive wildfires.

Some much clearer policy ensuring the productivity of our forests will have to be defined in the subsequent FRPA regulations. Otherwise we seem to be backing away from the proper practice of forest stewardship and substituting that with administrative remedies.