Forest Inventory

Modern forest management requires research and analysis, forest inventories and stand growth projection modelling. The accumulated data is shared across government and industry to support informed decision making.

Key functions of the government of British Columbia’s forest analysis and inventory operations include:

  • Collecting and maintaining current forest inventories
  • Monitoring the growth of stands
  • Providing models to project stand development and future yield
  • Supporting policy development and strategic and statutory decision making for the natural resource sector
  • Providing analytical support services for the natural resource sector

The B.C. government creates and maintains a number of tools and systems for tracking and forecasting.

Vegetation Resources Inventory

The forest inventory program outlined in this strategic plan will help the government's forests ministry to secure both economic prosperity and environmental sustainability for the province. The resource information that will be produced by the investments outlined in this plan is required for government to continue to make durable decisions on the land base and to support a healthy and competitive forest sector. This program also fulfills a commitment to develop a five-year provincial inventory action plan, as recommended by the August 2012 report of the Special Committee on Timber Supply.

Vegetation Resources Inventories (VRI) is a photo-based, two-phased vegetation inventory design consisting of:

  • Phase I: Photo Interpretation
  • Phase II: Ground Sampling

VRI are typically funded by government.The decision to conduct a VRI is based on a number of factors including:

  • Age of the inventory
  • Known problems of the inventory
  • Recent catastrophic events (such as mountain pine beetle)
  • Other emerging issues that require a new inventory

Note: There is no re-inventory cycle in VRI.

Inventory updates due to changes in the forest, such as harvesting, fire and other catastrophic events, are done through electronic data submissions from licensees. Updates are also done through a combination of mapping from satellite imagery, aerial photography and global positioning system (GPS).

Also included in VRI:

  • Permanent Sample Plots (PSP)
  • Vegetation Resource Monitoring Program
  • Forest Inventory Statistical Support
  • Inventory Audits and Net Volume Adjustment Factor (NVAF)

National Forest Inventory

National Forestry Inventory (NFI) provides status and trend data on 25 attributes of sustainability. This represents a change in the reporting of the current state of the forest resource in B.C.

In the past, data came from an annual summary of information contained in all the province's map sheets. NFI-BC now puts in place a statistically based system of monitoring and reporting that can be completed in conjunction with the national program.

It operates at the provincial and, ultimately, national levels.

Analysis Operations

The B.C. government is the authority on forest analysis in the province. It uses research and data collection to make informed and strategic decisions.

Permanent Sample Plots (PSPs) have been used to create growth and yield models. These, in turn, provide future forest predictions.

PSPs have many uses in forest analysis, including calculations of stand regeneration rates, calibration of climate models, and recovery information after catastrophic forest epidemics.

Growth & Yield Modelling

B.C. uses a suite of stand-level models and tools to predict forest growth and yields. Among the tools used for growth and yield modelling are:

  • Tree and Stand Simulator (TASS)
  • Table Interpolation Program for Stand Yields (TIPSY)
  • Variable Density Yield Projection (VDYP)
  • Financial Analysis of Silviculture Investment and Economic Return (FAN$IER)
  • Silviculture impacts on Yield Lumber Value and Economic Return (SYLVER) 

These models and tools are also used to support government and private-sector forest sustainability decisions.