Forestry is alive and well in B.C.

Dear Sir:

I’m responding to the inaccuracies in Rob Brown’s July 2 column about forest practices in B.C.

The Forest Practices Code was replaced by the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) more than a decade ago. All timber harvesters on Crown land are required to abide by the Forest and Range Practices Act. Non-compliance can result in stiff fines or even suspension of the forest tenure in question.

With regard to logging in streamside areas, FRPA requires a mandatory riparian reserve zone of at least 20 metres on each side of the stream for all fish-bearing streams greater than 1.5 metres in width. Smaller fish-bearing streams typically have riparian management zones that restrict timber harvesting or road construction on or near stream banks.

Ombudsperson Kim Carter’s recent report on riparian area regulations has nothing to do with forestry.

The Riparian Area Regulation falls under the Fish Protection Act, and is designed to protect fish habitat from development in urban areas and on agricultural lands.

I think your readers might also be interested to know that B.C. is a world leader in sustainable forest management.

More than 52 million hectares are certified to one of three internationally recognized sustainable forest management programs – that’s more than any other jurisdiction in the world apart from Canada as a whole.

About 75 per cent of B.C.’s annual harvest comes from operations that have sustainable forest management certification.

The “golden goose” of forestry, portrayed by Mr. Brown as an endangered species, is in fact alive and well.

It is expected to contribute $785 million in direct revenue to government programs this year.

Steve Thomson,

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations,

Victoria, B.C.

(Steve Thomson is also the Liberal MLA for the Okanagan riding of Kelowna - Mission.)


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