Land Use Planning

British Columbia is home to 94.8 million hectares of public land. Land use planning is a tool used to develop land use direction that guides provincial management decisions and activities. The purpose is to manage land in ways that meet economic, environmental, cultural and social objectives.

Modernized Land Use Planning

A modernized land use planning program is being created to evaluate historic land use plans and to capitalize on new opportunities and respond to emerging challenges in the management of B.C.’s public lands and natural resources, which include:

  • Relations between the Province and many First Nations have evolved over the past decade to increase collaboration and incorporate new land-related management approaches that reflect traditional ecological and cultural information.
  • A growing economy and an increased demand by industry and recreation ventures, which are creating new pressures on the balance between social, economic and environmental objectives.  
  • New factors that affect land use such as species-at-risk directives, water sustainability, clean energy and climate change.
  • Updated assessments of the current conditions of natural values are needed; particularly where economic and environmental implications exist as a result of disturbances from forest pests and wildfires.
  • An increased need for communities and stakeholders to stay engaged in discussions between the Province and First Nations as they apply to the use of lands and resources, or to the status of pre-existing land use plans.

In 2018, the Province demonstrated its commitment to Indigenous reconciliation by providing a three-year funding model to work with the Minister of Indigenous Relations and First Nations communities to modernize land-use planning to sustainably manage B.C.’s ecosystems, rivers, lakes, watersheds, forest and old growth. The values, traditions and cultural practices of Indigenous people will be a part of all land use planning decisions and will continue to be an integral component as new modernized land use practices evolve.

Please refer to the left column for current information on land use plans and objectives, and for regional information.

Land use, landscape and watershed level plans have been completed at a regional- or sub-regional scale for most areas of the province. Resource management objectives – statements of desired outcomes for resource values or resource use – are an important part of land use plans and are, in some cases, legally established to support the implementation of plans or agreements.