Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

How We Manage Our Forest

Vision Statement

To conserve, manage and use the ecosystems of the Province, while ensuring the productivity and sustainability of these systems and their functions, which sustain forests and to provide for the utilization of resources by the people of the Province under the principles of sustainable development, an ecologically-based management philosophy, and sound environmental practices.

In managing our forests, the Forestry Services Branch is guided by this vision. The Forestry Services Branch recognizes forest management and timber harvesting must be done with sound environmental practices in mind and be consistent with other resources, such as wildlife, fish, recreation, water and land. The policies and practices that we implement today must meet today's needs as well as the needs of our children and our children's children.

In order to manage the forests, a provincial strategy is prepared every five years that includes a wood supply analysis for the province. This analysis determines the amount of wood that can be sustainably harvested. In forest management terms the harvest level is called the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC).

This analysis is based on computer models. The models rely on assumptions such as management actions, harvesting levels, planting and thinning, growth patterns, and land base available for cutting trees. Forest disturbances such as fires, insect damage and increased harvesting levels can change these projections.

At the district level three plans are prepared that guide forest management:

  • Management Plan Report
    Sometimes called the Forest Ecosystem Strategy Document, this report outlines the strategy for managing the district and relies on the provincial strategy for direction.
  • Five-year Operating Plan
    The five-year plan outlines on 1:50,000 scale maps where forest management activities (e.g.timber harvesting, planting, thinning and road construction) are proposed. The strategies and policies within the Management Plan Report are applied on-the-ground in the five-year plan.
  • Annual Work Schedule
    The Annual Work Schedule identifies, specifically, where forest management will occur for the year. This information is defined on 12,500 or 1:25,000 scale maps.

The District Management Plan Report and five-year Operating Plan are prepared through a consultative process where different interests are represented on a planning team. There teams are comprised of resource managers. Local organizations and the public who assist the district manager in preparing the plan.

Past management practices, repeated insect attacks, and forest fires give the current age classification of our forest. The majority of the forest is in the oldest or youngest age classes. This presents problems in forest management because the older timber must be harvested as quickly as possible before insects, disease, blowdown, or old age cause high mortality. However, if it is harvested too quickly (ie. before the new forests move into older age classes) there will be a period of time when there will not be enough growing stock in age classes required to provide a continuous flow of timber, particular habitats, and other values associated with a healthy forest.

The Forestry Services Branch prepared the first 20-Year Forestry Development Plan in 1984. This plan set a framework for the activities at that time. Subsequent plans have extended the planning period to the current and into future years. To attain the proposals and goals of these plans, various strategies have been adopted including forest access, protection, ecosystem health, timber utilization, and silviculture.


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