Forest inventory program review completed
A blue ribbon panel review of B.C.’s forest inventory program has made recommendations to improve it.
These recommendations come in the wake of the pine beetle epidemic and other pest infestations, as well as the effects of two intense wildfire seasons.
The forest inventory program is used by many government ministries and other stakeholders to direct policies involving economic investments, environmental conservation, protection of social values and risk assessment. With its large and diverse forested areas, much of them remote, British Columbia faces one of the most daunting forest inventory challenges anywhere, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development noted in a press release.
“Our forests are one of our most precious resources,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Now more than ever, we need to make the right decisions in all areas of forest management to ensure our forest industry is truly sustainable and our forests are managed for multiple values. This report on the forest inventory program will help us do that.”
One year ago, Donaldson announced that the panel would review the program to determine if it was meeting the needs of users and if not, what changes could be made to meet those needs.
The panel’s review took place between April and September 2018, with a final report submitted to the ministry in December 2018.
The panel members were Bill Bourgeois, Clark Binkley, Valerie LeMay, Ian Moss and Nick Reynolds. They met with the ministry’s forest analysis and inventory branch as well as stakeholders who use the inventory, and also examined forest inventory programs in other jurisdictions.
In its report, the panel made 16 recommendations to strengthen and enhance the forest inventory program, including sustainable funding, better data collection, increased program linkages and improved communication.
The ministry is halfway through its 10-year forest inventory strategic plan and will update the plan this spring to address the panel’s recommendations.