Ecosystem management and plantation forestry: new directions in British Columbia

Author: Binkley, C.S.

Source: New Forests, Volume 18, Number 1, 1999 , pp. 75-88(14)

Publisher: Springer

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Abstract:

Historically British Columbia's (B.C.) forests were managed under the implicit assumption that virtually the whole forested land base would, one day, be available for timber production. The B.C. Forest Service and licensees incorporate non-timber values into timber production plans through a process of ``integrated resource management'' which attempts to consider wildlife, riparian habitat, recreation, water flows, grazing, and other forest uses in each decision about each hectare where logging is to occur. Under this extensive form of management, silvicultural investments are low. This policy has clearly failed either to satisfy legitimate demands from the environmental community or to produce the predictably high levels of timber harvest needed to sustain the forest products industry and industry-dependent communities. The core problem is that, despite a vast forest estate in British Columbia, land has become scarce. It is, therefore, logical to substitute capital, labor, and knowledge for land in forest production processes. Implementing this general economic prescription requires a change in forest management approach to zone the landscape and manage each zone intensively for a specific purpose. For the bulk of commercial timber production, planted forests represent the best technological option. New directions in B.C.'s forest policy -- land-use zoning, a new forest practice code, and the dedication of capital for silvicultural investments -- generally move toward this objective, but implementation remains uncertain. Major impediments include dysfunctional forest tenure arrangements and a comparatively poor information base.

Keywords: extensive management; forest practices; intensive management; land-use; multiple-use

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Hancock Timber Resource Group, Boston, MA, USA

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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