Forestry FAQS (BC, Canada)
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.
𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙨 𝙐𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙨 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙖 𝙘𝙪𝙩𝙗𝙡𝙤𝙘𝙠 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙?
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:
free growing dates
soil disturbance limits
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.
𝙎𝙥𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙚𝙭𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙖 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙨 𝙐𝙣𝙞𝙩 𝙥𝙤𝙡𝙮𝙜𝙤𝙣 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣 𝙖 𝙘𝙪𝙩𝙗𝙡𝙤𝙘𝙠
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.
𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙭/𝙨𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙖 𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙣 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚?
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.
𝘾𝙪𝙩𝙗𝙡𝙤𝙘𝙠: 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙡 𝙫𝙨 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙙𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙞𝙣 𝘽𝘾, 𝘾𝙖𝙣𝙖𝙙𝙖
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.
𝘾𝙖𝙣 𝙖 𝙘𝙪𝙩𝙗𝙡𝙤𝙘𝙠 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙢𝙪𝙡𝙩𝙞𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙙𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙧𝙚𝙛𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙫𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙥𝙝𝙖𝙨𝙚𝙨?
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 (‘Opening’ 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).