Forestry FAQS (BC, Canada)

(under construction)


British Columbia is known for having one of the most elaborated Forestry Management Systems in the world. This system leads to tight practices that aim to protect the natural and cultural environments, as well as the renewability-sustainability of the Province's forests.

But with it come challenges. It can be hard to link the objectives and laws that regulate the different components of the Forest Management System (soil, faunal, riparian, archaeological, silvicultural, economical) with the mapping and permitting process.

This is intended as a guide for some putative frequent questions. Focus is on the mapping and permitting processs for the different kinds of timber harvesting tenures.

๐•Š๐•‹๐”ธโ„•๐”ป๐”ธโ„๐”ป๐•Š ๐•Œโ„•๐•€๐•‹๐•Š

๐™ƒ๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™ข๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฎ ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™๐™–๐™ง๐™™๐™จ ๐™๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™™๐™ค๐™š๐™จ ๐™– ๐™˜๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™—๐™ก๐™ค๐™˜๐™  ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™š๐™™?

It is sometimes believed that stocking standards and soil disturbance limits are the determining factors.

According to the FPPR, there need to be as many standards units (SUs) as:

    • regeneration dates

    • free growing dates

    • soil disturbance limits

    • stocking standards

    • free growing height for each species that contributes to establishing a free growing stand on the cutblock

Regeneration and Free Growing dates depend on the harvest commencement date. The other determinants are independent of harvest timing.

As per the FPPR, SUs needs to be at least as many as the number of different combinations of all the elements in the FPPR list.

๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™–๐™ก ๐™š๐™ญ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™– ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™๐™–๐™ง๐™™๐™จ ๐™๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ก๐™ฎ๐™œ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™– ๐™˜๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™—๐™ก๐™ค๐™˜๐™ 

An SU is an area attributed with stocking information: rules for post-harvest regeneration.

By definition, then, the extent of a Standards Unit polygon is that of the Net Area to be Regenerated/Reforested (NAR). The NAR can be a subset of the harvested area, as for excluding permanent access structures where regeneration is inhibited.

In practice, it is the Forest Cover to be submitted post-harvest that provides the detailed spatial extent of Not Sufficiently Restocked (NSR) areas. NSR areas should always be in a SU.

๐•Š๐•€๐•‹๐”ผ โ„™๐•ƒ๐”ธโ„•๐•Š

๐™ƒ๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™š๐™ญ/๐™จ๐™ž๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™š ๐™™๐™ค๐™š๐™จ ๐™– ๐™จ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™—๐™š?

As per the FPPR, a site plan should:

  • "identify the approximate locations of cutblocks and roads,

  • be consistent with the forest stewardship plan, this Act and the regulations, and

  • identify how the intended results or strategies described in the forest stewardship plan apply to the site."

Often, Site Plan maps present significantly more information than what is required by the legislation. Licensees use more integrated documents depicting the relationship between elements such as the layout, terrain, forest cover, and stocking standards.


๐˜พ๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™—๐™ก๐™ค๐™˜๐™ : ๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง๐™–๐™ก ๐™ซ๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™™๐™š๐™›๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐˜ฝ๐˜พ, ๐˜พ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™–๐™™๐™–

Defined literally, a 'cutblock' is an area (block) where timber is harvested (cut).

For timber harvesting and management in British Columbia Crown Land, the 'cutblock' working definition differs from the literal one.

In manuals (e.g., RISS) and legislation (FPPR), 'cutblocks' can include planned non-harvest area.

For example, a Wildlife Tree Retention Area can be located within a cutblock (FPPR).

Thus, 'cutblocks' are used as overarching management areas that can include both planned logging areas and adjacent areas with other objectives. This is a convenience for activity and obligation management.

Of the two cutblock definitions above, which version should be submitted at the cutting permit application stage? It doesn't seem to be set in hard stone. The majority of licensees seem to submit cutblocks wider than the planned harvest area. If only the planned harvest area is submitted, adjacent areas with objectives linked to that cutblock can be dealt with at the opening submission stage.

Even if the submitted cutblock shape depicted only the planned harvest, the actual harvested area could deviate from it due to operational decisions responding to field findings/difficulties.

Post-harvest, the harvested area within the approved cutblock is reported through a Forest Cover Submission.

There can be some confusion in the communication between layout staff, permitting staff, and loggers: in practice, the cutblock may be larger for permitting and reporting than for loggers.

Lastly, across manuals and legislation, multiple forms of the term are used: block, cutblock, cut block. We believe that, presently they all refer to the same.

๐˜พ๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™– ๐™˜๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™—๐™ก๐™ค๐™˜๐™  ๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ข๐™ช๐™ก๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™š ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™™๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ง๐™š๐™›๐™ก๐™š๐™˜๐™ฉ ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™๐™–๐™ง๐™ซ๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™ฅ๐™๐™–๐™จ๐™š๐™จ?

Once logging/harvest is initiated, licensees report the disturbance to RESULTS (post-harvest obligations tracking system).

RESULTS uses the harvest commencement date to calculate the regeneration due date, which applies to the entire cutblock (โ€˜Openingโ€™ in RESULTS).

New logging disturbances can be reported in subsequent years, but the corresponding areas are still subject to the same regeneration due date.

That is, the answer is no. All standards units and areas in a cutblock are to be regenerated by the same date, independently of harvest timing and spatiality.

This is a simple example. There are more complex settings (e.g., multi-cutblock openings).