Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA)

The Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA) governs forest and range activities occurring on public lands across B.C. during all stages of forest planning, road building, timber harvesting, reforestation and livestock grazing.

The standards and requirements in FRPA ensure high levels of protection of natural resource values, while streamlining planning processes for both the provincial government and the forest industry.

Last updated: October 20, 2021

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What is the Forest and Range Practices Act?

FRPA applies to all public forest and range lands and to anyone who holds an agreement under the Forest Act or Range Act. It also applies to private land associated with woodlots licences and tree farm licences.

With the introduction of the Forest and Range Amendment Act (Bill 21, 2019) and Phase two of FRPA amendments (2021), the Forest Stewardship Planning (FSP) framework will be, over time, progressively replaced by the Forest Landscape Planning (FLP) framework.


The FRPA improvement initiative

The Forest and Range Practices Act provides economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits to B.C.’s communities and Indigenous Nations. In October 2018, the ministry initiated a multi-year, multi-phase legislative process to contemplate changes to FRPA. These changes are intended to strengthen public confidence in the management of B.C.’s forest and range resources.

Amendments to the Act are proposed as part of the province’s overall forest policy strategy to reshape B.C.’s forest management framework to continue to serve the public interest in an era of change – by increasing Indigenous Nations participation in forestry, adapting to changing climate and modernizing land use planning.

The changes being proposed for FRPA are meant to:

  • Advance reconciliation with Indigenous Nations by enhancing their participation in forest and range management​
  • Introduce a new Forest Landscape Planning framework
  • Clarify provincial objectives for forest and range resources​
  • Improve information sharing in forest planning​
  • Provide more frequent and reliable opportunities for communities to engage in forest planning​
  • Adapt resource management to changing land base and values

In summer 2021, the ministry reiterated its commitment to modernizing forest policy by releasing an intentions paper.

The multi-year timeline for the FRPA Improvement Initiative is described in three phases:

 

Step 1 - Initial amendments are introduced as Bill 21

A first round of amendments to FRPA were introduced into legislation through the Forest and Range Practices Amendment Act, 2019 (Bill 21, 2019) in spring 2019.

Bill 21 was intended as a first step to improve the administration and transparency of forest stewardship planning by allowing initial legislative and regulatory changes including:​​​

  • Requirement for a Forest Operations Map (FOM) depicting the approximate geographic location of proposed cutblocks and roads to improve public discourse in forest planning
  • Mandatory replacement timelines for Forest Stewardship Plans and Woodlot License Plans to facilitate adoption of the forest landscape planning framework
  • Amendment requirements for catastrophic timber damage​
  • Expanded definition of wildlife consistent with other legislation
 

Step 2 - Amendments introduced in 2021 address public input, reconciliation

Changes to FRPA introduced in Bill 23 - Forest Statutes Amendment Act, include important improvements to forest and range management in the province that prioritize forest health and move forward on commitments to reconciliation. These include:

  • Introduction of the new Forest Landscape Planning (FLP) framework to clarify forest management objectives and improve transparency in forest planning and at a landscape scale
  • Alignment of FRPA with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act​ to strengthen government-to-government relations and shared decision-making opportunities in forest planning
  • Expanding provisions for wildfire​ management, including the addition of wildfire as a FRPA objective and new prescribed practices within Wildland Urban Interface Areas to safeguard B.C. communities against the threat of wildfire
  • Enhancing road management to protect public safety and the environment
  • Improving the compliance and enforcement framework through enabling disclosure of information, the creation of 12 new fines and increasing nine others

The province is committed to working with Indigenous Nations, the forest industry, stakeholders and the public throughout the multi-year lifespan of the FRPA Improvement Initiative. Changes to the legislation will be brought into force by an Order-In-Council or through the development of regulation and policy.

 


FRPA engagement and timeline

Changes to FRPA have been, and continue to be, directly informed by engagement with Indigenous Nations, the public, industry and stakeholders. Key questions that government asked British Columbians included:

  • How should the province identify opportunities and priorities for adapting forest management to a changing climate, such as mitigating the effects of beetle infestations, drought and fire?
  • What factors should be considered in the planning of forest operations to reduce the risks of wildfire around your community

Read the discussion paper released in may 2019 which guided FRPA engagement with Indigenous Nations, stakeholders, the forest industry and the public.

FRPA engagement was carried out in three phases:

  1. Online public engagement: As part of the review, input was received by an online feedback form that was open until July 15, 2019 to all British Columbians. Over 2,300 responses were received
  2. Consultation with industry, communities and stakeholders: The ministry met directly with forest and range industry stakeholders, non-forestry related commercial and recreational users, organizations and groups who are directly impacted by changes to FRPA
  3. Consultation with Indigenous Nations: Changes to FRPA have been developed in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Nations in alignment with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Feedback on proposals was sought through regular correspondence, regional workshops and webinars, and government-to-government meetings

What we heard

What we heard from stakeholders and the public

As a result of online public and stakeholder consultation and written submissions, several themes were captured and incorporated into the FRPA amendments. These include:

  • Transforming forest planning to reduce cumulative effects and foster increased participation from Indigenous Nations and the public in the management of B.C.’s forest resources
  • Addressing climate change by giving land managers the tools to promote forest health and resilient ecosystem
  • Enhancing public trust by increasing access to information
  • Clarifying government objectives for FRPA values

Read the What We Heard report from stakeholders and the public

What We Heard from Indigenous Nations

Through the engagement cycle, Indigenous Nations have called on the province to support reconciliation in forest and range management by:

  • Increasing opportunities for collaboration with Indigenous Nations in forest planning and related decision-making processes
  • Ensuring Indigenous knowledge, values and principles are reflected in forest planning and practices
  • Adopting a more balanced approach to the management of timber and non-timber resource values
  • Building capacity for Indigenous Nations to participate in the management of forest resources

Feedback also indicated broad support for the forest landscape planning framework.