On Wednesday (10-20-21), Katrine Conroy, British Columbia’s Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minster, introduced a bill to amend the Forest and Range Practices Act, saying it would “reshape” forest management in the province. Conroy told the legislature that the proposed changes align forestry legislation with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act passed in late 2019 and introduce “new tools to establish resilient forests.”
In a news conference following the introduction of the amendment, Conroy said, “The vision is for a forest sector that delivers higher value from our forests, with secure, long-term jobs and healthier ecosystems.”
Past policies “left too much control of the forest operations in the hands of the private sector” and limited the province’s ability to fight climate change, protect old-growth forests, and share benefits with Indigenous and local communities, she said. “We’ll put government back in the driver’s seat of land-management decisions in partnership with First Nations, including where forest roads are built.”
The new system of 10-year forest landscape plans developed in partnership with First Nations, local communities, and other stakeholders will prioritize forest health, replacing the stewardship plans developed largely by the forest industry, Conroy said.
With the proposed changes, companies with harvesting licenses would be required to develop and submit their operational plans for the minister’s approval, and they must meet the requirements of the broader landscape-level plans, she said.
Conroy added that further changes to the Forest Act are expected later. That act, separate from the Forest and Range Practices Act, governs the annual allowable cut.
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Minister introduces bill to 'reshape' forest management in B.C.