New forest stewardship plans still lacking: FPB
A follow-up report on implementing recommendations to improve forest stewardship plans in B.C. has found some improvement in the quality of plans but concludes the recommendations have not yet been fully implemented.
In August 2015, the Forest Practices Board (FPB) published a special investigation report called Forest Stewardship Plans: Are They Meeting Expectations? That investigation found the quality of plans needs to improve as the plans did not include adequate content and were not useful to the public in providing input on proposed forestry activities, the FPB noted in a May 30 media release.
In this report, the board looked at the extent to which its recommendations have been implemented and if new forest stewardship plans (FSPs) have improved.
“We looked at 10 recently approved plans and found there is an improving trend in the content of FSPs, especially where targeted training and guidance have been provided, but overall they continue to have a low to moderate degree of conformity with the legal requirements,” said Kevin Kriese, chair, Forest Practices Board. “While the plans met the basic legal requirements for public consultation, only two of 10 plan preparers did anything more than the minimum to get public input to the plans.
“We conclude that these plans have not met our expectations for improvement. The board questions whether FSPs are the right tool for the job of informing the public about planned forestry activities and holding forest companies accountable for sound practices.”
On May 16, the B.C. legislature passed Bill 21-2019: Forest and Range Practices Amendment Act, which includes changes that are expected to address the board’s recommendations related to the enforceability of the content of FSPs and improved opportunities for public review.
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.