Forest Health Strategies
The Provincial Forest Health Strategy guides government's forest health program to achieve the goals of:
- maintaining and improving the productivity of British Columbia’s forests
- extending the supply of the remaining timber resource
- protecting other forest resource values
Timber Supply Area Forest Health Strategy and Tactical Plans
For each Timber Supply Area (TSA) managed by a provincial resource district office, a forest health strategy document must be prepared. In some regions, this information is presented as a regional strategy document.
A forest health strategy document:
- Specifies the forest health conditions, issues and strategies unique to each TSA.
- Shapes timber-supply reviews and operational plans.
- Guides forest health investments by TSA members and individuals through the Forest Stewardship Plan and Land Based Investment Strategy.
- Links higher-level strategies—such as the provincial forest health strategy, Integrated Silviculture Strategies, ministry service plans, land use plans and other relevant strategies—to ensure alignment with other initiatives and priorities.
Licensees and staff can consult the forest health strategy to determine the:
- current estimates for non-recoverable losses to be used for the next timber supply review (TSR);
- important forest health issues identified in the last TSR and the strategies to address them;
- key forest-health issues that may affect stocking decisions; and,
- recommendations for adapting to potential forest-health risks driven by climate change.
All TSAs require a general forest health strategy. For TSAs with bark-beetle management issues, information on managing the beetles is required to assist the government in allocating funding.
Strategy — Specific Content Requirement
The general strategy requirements are:
- A listing of priority forest-health agents in the TSA.
Also an updated description of their status if the most recent provincial overview or other survey information reveals significant changes since the last status report. Locally important pests and a description of their status can be added to the list.
- A ranking of each pest and a description of specific management objectives for priority forest-health agents.
The district may apply its own ranking and objectives, but if those differ from the provincial objectives (as stated in the Provincial Forest Health Strategy), a justification must be provided. After a review by the Region, the TSA (district) forest health strategy defines the local objectives and forest-health priorities for the TSA. Priorities identified in the latest TSR determination may describe information-needs to be addressed before the next TSR begins.
- A description of the known extent of the significant forest health agents within the TSA.
The strategy must specify the extent to which priority pests occur and their implications for forest management. The MFLNRORD provides the information that specifies the status, via the annual aerial overview survey, the TSA's licensees, and by reports from regional, district and branch forest-health specialists and stewardship staff.
- Specify strategies and measures for dealing with priority forest-health factors.
Once management objectives are specified, the district assigns specific strategies, tactics and proposed activities to manage the forest-health issue and assign a priority for action to meet the stated objectives. Requirements under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and the Forest Act (FA) will determine an individual licencee's obligations to complete these priority actions. Most of these activities (other than the individual licencee's obligations under the FRPA) would be the responsibility of the MFLNRORD supported by LBI funding.
- For brevity, limit the descriptions of strategies, tactics and other measures to citations of current information in Forest Health guidebooks, the Provincial Forest Health Strategy or other MFLNRORD documents.
A full description would be required only if these procedures vary from those described by commonly available information. A justification for using full descriptions must be supplied. This will allow for local input into "best practices".
- Follow guidelines in the Business Process Map for including forest health information in Timber Supply Review (TSR).
The TSA Forest Health Strategy must specify how to maintain the most current nonrecoverable loss estimate for major forest health factors in the TSA (see Step 1 in the process map). The strategy document should also address or reiterate any of the forest-health-related issues and recommendations made by the Chief Forester in the most recent TSR.
- Provide as a deliverable in the Forest Stewardship Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation:
Objective 2.1 - Action 4 - "Strengthen the content of Forest Health Strategies at the district level by including stocking standards recommendations and other relevant information [to address forest health issues related to climate change]. Provide Chief Forester direction to District Managers to sign off an updated forest health strategy annually."
For TSAs with bark beetle management issues:
- List and describe beetle management units and their assigned strategies plus the proposed budget and activities within the suppression BMUs.
The BMU strategies should be described explicitly, using the parameters MFLNRORD currently uses to rank them provincially (i.e., susceptible volumes, number of sites, estimated numbers of current attacks, green:red, etc.). These details will be provided in the Provincial Bark Beetle Technical Implementation Guidelines. Circumstances that may elevate the priority above biologically-based must be described for each BMU. This helps any secondary ranking (i.e., government priorities) that may occur after the primary biological ranking is completed.
The proposed budget and activities constitute the "tactical plan".
- The BMU listing should be referenced by licensees and the district. This is to determine where specific administrative tools may be suitably applied to facilitate sanitation harvesting for managing bark beetle populations.
Bark Beetle Management Tactical Plan — Specific Content Requirements
Cost estimates are required only for detailed aerial and ground detection and single-tree treatments (non-harvesting) for suppression of BMU bark beetle management. The estimates should be a projection based on historical data updated with the most current infestation information provided by the MFLNRORD’s provincial aerial overview survey. Districts and regions currently provide the Resource Practices Branch with the necessary data to allocate suppression funding.
Budgets for beetle detection and treatment are based on historical knowledge of detailed aerial survey costs (these don't vary much year-to-year), plus an estimate of the total number of current attacks that will require treatment based on the overview data plus an estimated green:red multiplier. This number will always be one year out of step with the beetle population but is the best estimate of workload possible within the budget-planning time frame.
BMU strategies can be modified (usually from Suppression down to Holding) when new aerial survey data reveal significant changes in attack levels. When these changes occur, funds allocated for single-tree treatments can be reallocated to other BMUs within the TSA.
This estimated budget for proposed beetle detection and treatments is supplied with other BMU data that are used to rank the suppression BMUs provincially.