A Conversation on BC Forests

The Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities initiative has been completed.  Potential steps to encourage decision-makers to implement the recommendations will be discussed over the next few months.  This website will remain until September 2015 as a reference source but no updates or additions will be provided.

In a changing world, it is a challenge for resource managers to know if today’s policies and regulations are resulting in sustainable forest use* – for industry, communities, families and future generations. Through consultation and dialogue with natural resource experts and local communities (including members of the forestry profession, Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals), the Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities initiative aims to inform decision-makers about the people’s vision for the forest lands of British Columbia, identifying areas for improving long-term sustainable management to achieve their goals.

Since 2009, concern has continued to grow among professional foresters and biologists, conservationists, academics, community leaders, forest companies and First Nations that British Columbia forests are in need of greater attention to meet societal expectations over the long term. Scientific data and public opinion captured through the initiative during 2011 provided vital information for responding to climate change, supporting the economy, enhancing community resilience, and creating lasting natural resource policies for forest lands management in the province. Informed decision-making will ensure healthy forests and healthy communities for a brighter BC future.

*Sustainable forest management: Sustainable forest management: It is the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biological diversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological economic and social functions, at local, national and global levels, and that does not cause damage on other ecosystems. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Canadian Institute of Forestry’s The Forestry Chronicle Vol 70 (6): 666-674)

Forest Health has become one of the most widely used terms in ecosystem management. Its popularity derives from powerful personal imagery, connecting the fragility of health with ecosystems. It addresses a need for an efficient term to describe the vitality of the world’s forests, a usage we support. However, broad adoption has brought multiple usages, not all of which correspond to the term’s literal meaning or convey such clarity of intent. The following paper examines some of these disparities and sheds some light on the misapplication and misunderstanding around the term “Forest Health”. Forest health involves the integration of pest management, resource sustainability and ecosystem resiliency concepts to achieve the desired future forest.

A Literal Use of “Forest Health” Safeguards against Misuse and Misapplication - Raffa et al. (2009)