It was bound to happen. Years of declining public investment in forestry, a provincial mountain pine beetle infestation approaching Old Testament status, last summer’s catastrophic wildfires and it is no surprise the British Columbia reforestation backlog is making a come back.
Government Reports Cites Decline in B.C. Reforestation
It was bound to happen. Consider years of declining public investment in forestry, a provincial moutain pine beetle infestation approaching Old Testament status, last summer’s catastrophic wildfires and it is no surprise the British Columbia reforestation backlog is making a come back. Its return is documented in the Mininstry of Forests 2003/04 Annual Service Plan Report released last month. “Reforestation and tending of backlog and current fire and pest areas are at their lowest levels in 20 years,” the year-end report states.
But it may be worse. Neither licensees or government appear to be tracking the recent losses to pest and disease suggesting the province’s bleak statistics may underestimate the backlog.
The rate of deforestation now appears to be outstripping reforestation. Early in their mandate the B.C. Liberal government removed the regulatory obligation to restore lands lost to wildfire, pest and disease. Now what restoration that might occur must seek funding from the dwindling annual Forest Investment Account (FIA) which now sits at $85-million, its lowest ebb.
Furthermore the FIA forestry program, implemented through the defined forest area management (DFAM) framework, is hampered, if not dysfunctional, due to the lack of money and the uncertain strategic effectiveness of the DFAM model. “Insufficient or uncertain year-to-year funding has resulted in industry focusing on other priorities,” the report said.
To read the report visit the WSCA website at www.wfca.ca or visit the B.C. government site at www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/annualreports/ Times Colonist columnist Les Leyne has written on the report. His column is under News & Media at www.wfca.ca