A Sustainable Forest Management Framework for BC Crown Forests
Healthy Forests Healthy Communities
The implementation of SFM requires there be an actual plan of management. Such a plan gives purpose,
meaning and direction to all the actions of forest protection, harvesting and renewal across the
landscape. The overall objective is to first identify a future forest condition with all the features the
public wishes to see in their public forests 50 to 100 years from now. Today’s management to achieve
the desired future forest, requires the features be quantified, as best as we are able, based on our
current scientific understanding of forest dynamics and visual quality values, fish and wildlife habitat,
watershed dynamics and biodiversity values at the tree, stand and landscape levels. The future forest is
not just a wooly concept but a real, bounded, area‐based forest condition at the scale of 100,000 to
200,000 hectares or 250 to 500 times the size of Stanley Park. We have known how to do this for over
To reach this future condition, today’s forest inventory needs to be grown into the future by computer
modeling. BC has pioneered this work. We know how to do it and we can develop various scenarios of
different planned actions in time and space that will produce different outcomes based on meeting
public, Government and industry expectations. The desired outcomes must be chosen in consultation
with the public, First Nations and the tenure holders. It’s a social decision. This process of analysis and
consultation requires a wide range of specialist expertise that must cooperate. This process reduces
barriers between bureaucratic silos and helps the public, stakeholders and First Nations understand
what is proposed and done.
Accountability lies in monitoring not just “forest practices” but real coordinated progress towards the
future forest. We monitor to learn from successes and errors by adaptive management. The chosen set
of actions form the basis for today’s short term operating plans and have built within them a certain
harvest level (Allowable Annual Cut) linked to a real spatial plan of management.
Such planning has initial costs but when considering public consultation and industry planning over time
they are expected to decline as people become familiar with the process and collaboration. This
essential planning process is not new. It is already in place in other provinces, notably Alberta, where all
area‐based tenures have such plans on the web. Most of the BC public forest does not have such SFM
plans and they are not formally required. No wonder there is great dissatisfaction with the lack of vision
and accountability in public forest management.
Dr. Gordon Weetman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia.