Priority old forest deferral area field verification

Learn about priority old forest deferral area field verification, download the field verification guide, submit field data, and access additional resources.

On this page:

Why old growth is being deferred

In 2021, the Province announced it was partnering with First Nations to defer harvesting of old growth in millions of hectares of B.C.'s at-risk forests. Temporary deferrals are one of the recommendations in the review report, A New Future for Old Forests: A Strategic Review of How British Columbia Manages for Old Forests Within its Ancient Ecosystems (PDF, 8.2MB), and are meant to prevent biodiversity loss while giving time for the development of new approaches to old forest management.

The terms old growth, old growth forest, and old forest are synonymous and often used interchangeably. When discussing field verification, we typically use old forest.

Field Verification of Priority Old Forest Deferral Areas: Technical Guidance

Forest professionals and government decision makers are using the Field Verification of Priority Old Forest Deferral Areas: Technical Guidance (PDF, 2MB) to confirm where to defer harvesting of old forests. It gives them the process to:

  • Check the need for a field assessment
  • Stratify a stand for evaluation against deferral criteria
  • Use field data to compare on-the-ground measures with priority old forest deferral criteria
  • Submit data to government, including spatial data and a professional rationale

The guidance applies to forest operations planned in areas where First Nations are in support of deferrals. It doesn't replace requirements in:

  • Land use orders
  • Higher level plan orders
  • Government action regulations (GAR), or
  • Any other guidance, requirements, or best practices for conservation and resource stewardship

It’s important to note that field verification will identify stands that meet the criteria of short-term deferrals. Implementing other strategic review recommendations will address longer-term approaches to old forest management.

Supporting resources

To help with deferral verifications, forest professionals can use the:

The field verification submission form

Use the form below to submit your field verification. One of the forms is for forest professionals with government log-in (IDIR) credentials. The other is for those with Business BCeIDs.