B.C. has released a 10-year forest inventory plan with an average annual investment of $8 million over the life of the plan, said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
“Developing a robust forest inventory plan was a top priority for my ministry, as it is so central to our Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan,” said Thomson. “The forest inventory program has the financial certainty it needs to fulfil its mission throughout the next 10 years.”
Since 2001, British Columbia has committed $884 million to battle the beetle and mitigating future impacts.
Over the next decade, the annual funding increase to $8 million will ensure 35 million hectares are inventoried in mountain pine beetle affected and other priority areas. The plan outlines nine goals, each with five- and 10-year targets, ensuring no forest cover data is older than 30 years, while integrating 100 per cent of harvest, reforestation and fire information updates into the inventory.
As of fall 2012, 52 per cent of the timber harvesting land base is inventoried to the Vegetation Resources Inventory standard.
Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry John Rustadsaid the plan meets the needs of the forest inventory program and the mid-term timber supply challenge head-on.
“By setting clear targets, publicly reporting progress, working collaboratively, and taking advantage of new innovations, B.C. will continue to enjoy its international reputation for sustainable forest management well into the future,” he said.
Developed in consultation with a variety of industry and academic experts, the forest inventory plan is guided by a common vision for an efficient, reliable and complete forest inventory.
Key strategies include focusing resources where need is the greatest, collaborating with stakeholders, public reporting of program performance, and using a mix of new cost-effective technologies such as satellite imagery, high resolution digital aerial photography, and software applications for managing large data sets.
In 2012-13, the ministry assigned 24 full-time and three auxiliary staff to forest inventory activities, completing three million hectares of new inventory.
A forest inventory plan is part of B.C.'s commitment to address mid-term timber supply. Information produced by the forest inventory program is used in many ways, such as forest condition forecasts, timber-supply analysis, silviculture, timber-harvest planning, habitat mapping, wildfire risk assessment, and biodiversity assessments.
Steve Lorimer, president, Association of BC Forest Professionals said, “We congratulate the ministry for committing to long-term, stable funding for forest inventory. Solutions to a mid-term timber supply must begin with a good forest inventory.”
To read the forest inventory plan, visit www.for.gov.bc.ca/hts/vri/. For more information on the Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan and the mountain pine beetle, visit www.gov.bc.ca/pinebeetle.