Forest licences provide the right to harvest a set volume of Crown timber within a timber supply area or a tree farm licence area. Most forest licence holders operate within a timber supply area and there are usually several (multiple) forest licence holders operating within the same timber supply area.
The maximum term of a forest licence is 20 years. Forest licences are either replaceable or non-replaceable.
Replaceable Forest Licence
Replaceable forest licences (RFL) specify harvesting rights as a licence-specific allowable annual cut. Holders of replaceable forest licences must be offered a replacement licence anywhere between five and ten years into the term of the licence.
Non-Replaceable Forest Licence
Non-replaceable forest licences (NRFL) specify harvesting rights as a maximum total volume of timber, but also specifiy an allowable annual cut. Non-replaceable forest licences cannot be offered a licence replacement, but may be extended in some cases.
Forest Licence Requirements
Forest licences have significant forest management responsibilities including forest protection, operational planning, road building, and reforestation.
Forest licences may or may not contain requirements to use replaceable logging contractors for a portion of the volume harvested during any given calendar year.
Forest licences may be consolidated or subdivided. In some rare instances all or part of the licence volume may be transferred from one timber supply area to another for a specified term.
Direct-Award Forest Licences
Forest licences are usually competitively-awarded. However, a forest licence (replaceable or non-replaceable) may be direct-awarded specifically to a First Nation or its representative or a person impacted by a treaty or other treaty related measure using the authority found under section 47.3 of the Forest Act.
The Minister (or delegated official) may also increase the allowable annual cut, maximum harvestable volume, an/or term of a forest licence if that licence was originally direct-awarded under the Forest Act, section 47.3.