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Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Performance Measures

To ensure sustainability and balance environmental, social and economic benefits, the Ministry of Forests and Range pursues two goals.

For 2008/09, the Ministry selected five performance measures to represent progress towards the two goals. This is a change from the 2007/08 Service Plan where 12 measures were aligned against objectives under three goals.

Goal 1: Sustainable forest and range resources

Objective 1.1: Well managed, healthy, productive forest and range resources

This objective states the one to three year results the Ministry seeks to achieve that will ensure forest and range resources are sustainable in the long term.

  • Well managed resources result from the effective regulation of forest and range practices, compliance and enforcement of laws, the determination of sustainable harvest levels, the effective allocation, administration and management of range and timber tenures, and maintenance of a safe and environmentally sound forest road network.
  • Healthy eco-systems are those which are protected from unwanted wildfire and pest outbreaks, and where invasive plants and endemic insects and disease are managed.
  • Ecosystem restoration and reforestation ensure that land and timber productivity and carbon sequestration are restored or maintained. The Ministry leads provincial rangeland restoration activities and enhances forest productivity through silviculture, forest gene resource management, and both applied and long-term research.

    The Future Forests Ecosystem Initiative

    In 2006, the Ministry established this initiative with the goal of creating forest ecosystems that remain resilient to stress and continue to provide basic services, products and benefits to society. Activities include research, forecasting, monitoring, policy evaluation and change and extension initiatives.

Challenges associated with achieving Objective 1.1 include:

  • Natural and changing environmental conditions, including:
    • Continuous hot, dry weather, contributing to extreme wildfire.
    • Expanded severity and range of insect infestations, disease infections and invasive plants.
    • Severe weather conditions and landslides which impact forest road access and safety as well as cause environmental damage.
  • Adaptation to ensure the right standards and trees are in place to increase ecosystem resilience.
  • Increased stakeholder and public pressure for use of forest and range resources.

The above challenges are mitigated through effective fire preparedness, reforestation, research, inventory and education programs, regular road and bridge maintenance and repairs, collaborative and inter-agency partnerships and consultation with First Nations and the public.

Strategies

The Mountain Pine Beetle
Action Plan

This Action Plan provides a long term government-wide approach to mitigating the impacts of the mountain pine beetle infestation in British Columbia. The federal government contributed funding to some components of the plan, and the Province and licensees are funding others. There are nine specific programs under the plan which mitigate environmental impacts of the epidemic and support economic sustainability.

The following strategies are intended to address key Ministry priorities over the next three years:

  • Continue to manage impacts on forest and range resources from the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
  • Develop a vision for new ways to manage Interior forests after the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
  • Increase cross-agency collaboration and alignment on land-use planning, research and resource management.
  • Adapt British Columbia’s forest and range management practices to a changing climate.

Performance Measures

Three key measures of well managed, healthy productive forest and range resources are fire protection, reforestation, and forest operator compliance with resource management laws. All three measures are commonly used in other Canadian jurisdictions.

A future measure that reports on the Ministry’s progress on climate adaptation and carbon sequestration is under discussion.

Performance Measure 1: Fire Protection

Performance Measure 2007/08 Forecast 2008/09 Target 2009/10 Target 2010/11 Target
Per cent of unwanted wildfire contained at less than four hectares (on a 5-year rolling average). 92% 92% 92% 92%
Data Source:  Forest Service Historical Fires Statistics Database.

Discussion

The Ministry’s detection and management of wildfire is critical to successfully managing forests and maintaining healthy ecosystems. While the BC Forest Service manages wildfire to protect lives and government assets, including Crown timber, healthy forest and range eco-systems are subject to natural fire and pest cycles; eco-systems are thus managed in keeping with natural disturbances where possible.

The Ministry’s success rate for initial attack on unwanted wildfires is tracked by this measure. Every fire is assessed to determine if and what kind of suppression action will take place. If values at risk are low, a decision may be made to allow for the natural role of fire in maintaining healthy ecosystems, rather than undertaking fire suppression. Where a decision to take action is made, the goal is to keep the final size of the fire at less than four hectares, so that damage and costs for fire suppression will be minimized.

Both Alberta and Ontario track success of initial wildfire attack. While the information cannot be compared directly due to differences in land ownership, policy, access, forest type and climate conditions, British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario all set targets for and report on initial wildfire attack success rates with results between 90 and 96 per cent.

Performance Measure 2: Reforestation

Performance Measure 2007/08
Forecast
2008/09
Target
2009/10
Target
2010/11
Target
Ratio of area reforested to area harvested or lost to fire and pest (unsalvageable losses). 0.87 0.82 0.89 0.94
Data Source:  This ratio uses data from the past five years (a five-year rolling average), submitted by licensees and the Ministry, to RESULTS (Reporting Silviculture Updates and Landstatus Tracking System). Data is submitted, according to legislated requirements, before June 1 each year for the previous year ending March 31. The detailed information used to calculate the ratio is found in: Table 1: Changes in Not Satisfactorily Restocked Crown Land, posted at: www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/docs/mr/annual/ar_2006-07/tables/t1.pdf.

Discussion

The ratio of area reforested to area harvested or lost to fire and pests is a high-level indicator of stewardship of forest resources and ultimately, of sustainable timber productivity. A ratio of 1.0 indicates that areas being reforested are in balance with those being harvested or lost to fire and pests. A ratio of less than 1.0 reflects a trend towards increased Not Sufficiently Restocked area with more productive area being harvested or lost to fire and pests than reforested.

The ratio combines data from all Crown land areas to be reforested. This includes:

The Forest Investment Account (FIA)

The goal of FIA is to assist government in developing a globally recognized, sustainably managed forest resource. FIA investments are directed by a Forest Investment Council of government and industry members. Activities, which are overseen by third party administrators, include research, enhanced forestry on public land and the promotion of greater returns from utilization of public timber.

  • Areas on which licensees have basic silviculture obligations. On these areas, the ratio tracks close to 1.0 as a steady state, indicating that industry is meeting its basic silviculture obligations; and
  • Areas on which no one has legal obligations for basic silviculture. These areas result from unsalvageable fire and pest losses and from pre-1987 logging. Reforestation on these areas is funded through the Forest Investment Account or through the Forests for Tomorrow program. Prior to this, Forest Renewal BC and the Federal-Provincial Forest Resource Development Agreements contributed to reforestation of these areas during which time the ratio was consistently above one.

In the ratio, “area reforested” includes planting or natural regeneration; “area harvested” is the net area harvested, excluding roads, landings, and reserves; and “areas lost to fire and pests” refer to unsalvageable timber on land presenting a viable opportunity for planting. An area is not tallied as lost to fire and pest until it has been surveyed and deemed to present a viable opportunity for planting.

Projections

Harvested areas comprise the largest part of the measure. For these areas the ratio is projected to remain close to 1.0 reflecting that licensees will continue to meet their legal basic silviculture obligations. Although harvest areas are expected to temporarily increase through salvage logging of mountain pine beetle killed timber, with current economics it is expected that harvesting and reforestation rates for licensees will remain relatively constant over the next three years.

The area impacted by fire and pest is expected to continue to increase. Starting in 2008/09, silviculture surveys of productive forest areas within the timber harvesting land base are expected to identify an additional 15,000 hectares of Not Sufficiently Restocked area each year. An estimated 7,000 hectares will be planted in 2008/09 and a further 10,000 in 2009/10. These activities are expected to mitigate a further drop in the ratio due to the mountain pine beetle epidemic and will likely begin to improve the ratio by 2009/10.

Starting in 2008/09, an estimated 15,000 hectares of Not Sufficiently Restocked “backlog” areas (logged before 1988) will be identified in the timber inventory for potential silviculture treatment, which will further improve the ratio.

Performance Measure 3: Forest operator compliance with resource laws

Performance Measure 2001/02 Baseline 2007/08 Forecast 2008/09 Target 2009/10 Target 2010/11 Target
Per cent of forest and range operator’s compliance with statutory requirements that regulate forest and range practices. 90% 96% 94% 94% 94%
Data Source : The Ministry’s Compliance Information Management System.

Discussion

This measure was selected as an indicator of the management decisions of forest and range operator’s which are key to the outcome of sustainable forest resources. Forest and range operators include all licensees (major industry and small business). Compliance is with the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, the Forest Act, the Range Act, the Wildfire Act and the Forest and Range Practices Act and their associated regulations.

This indicator is a measure of the number of inspections completed without any non-compliance that lead to a determined or prosecuted enforcement action against the number of inspections completed. The sites inspected are assessed for environmental, social and or economic values. The baseline was established in 2001/02, the first year this statistic was reported in the Ministry’s Service Plan. Actual performance has exceeded 90% for the past 10 years.

Goal 2: Sustainable socio-economic benefits from forest and range resources

To sustain the socio-economic benefits from forest and range resources for the foreseeable future, competitive forest and range industries are required. The revenue that accrues to Government from these competitive industries contributes to a healthy economy generating revenue in support of all British Columbians.

Gross revenue from Crown forest and range industries is a measure of the benefit that the public receives from use of its forest and range resources.

Performance Measure 4: Crown forest gross revenue

Performance Measure 2007/08 Forecast1 2008/09 Target 2009/10 Target 2010/11 Target
Crown forest gross revenue ($ billions). $1.066 B $0.939 B $1.021 B $ 1.083 B
Data Source:  Ministry’s Harvest Billing System.

1   Targets are based on January 2008 Treasury Board Revised Forecasts.

Discussion

The total amount of revenue realized by the Ministry and collected by the Government of British Columbia during each fiscal year includes stumpage and other revenues from timber tenures, BC Timber Sales, range use, revenues from the Softwood Lumber Export Tax and other Ministry non-forestry revenues.

The Crown forest gross revenue is influenced not only by the Ministry’s pricing and revenue policies, but also in response to market conditions and trends, business decisions of independent forest companies and the global financial environment including the strength of the Canadian dollar.

During 2007/08, the U.S. housing market continued to soften, resulting in lower prices for lumber and other forest products. With a strong Canadian dollar, lower lumber and commodity prices and the impacts of the mountain pine beetle infestation in the Interior, it is expected that stumpage revenues will remain relatively flat or even decline slightly over the next few years.

Objective 2.1: Fair market value for the use of public forest and range resources

The Ministry has a legislative responsibility to assert the financial interests of the Crown in its forest and range resources in a systematic and equitable manner. The revenue collected from the use of public forest and range resources becomes available to fund government priorities each year. In this way public forests contribute to the overall health, education and well-being of all British Columbians.

The Ministry continually reviews and modifies revenue policies and procedures to ensure that fair value is received. New market-based pricing systems were introduced on the Coast in 2004 and in the Interior in 2006. These changes continue to be integrated and implemented by the Ministry.

BC Timber Sales

BC Timber Sales’ goals, objectives, performance measures and strategies are available in the 2008/09 BC Timber Sales Service Plan available on the Ministry’s website at: www.for.gov.bc.ca/bcts/.

BC Timber Sales, a division of the Ministry, markets Crown timber to establish market price. It is anticipated that by the end of March 2008, 20 per cent of provincial allowable annual cut will be auctioned through BC Timber Sales.

Challenges associated with achieving the objective include:

  • BC Timber Sales ability to establish a market price can be impacted by sales and harvest levels, which in turn are influenced externally by the number of bidders and market conditions.
  • Forest crimes including theft and fraud related to timber pricing. These are mitigated through the Ministry’s Compliance and Enforcement program.

Strategies

  • Monitor and enhance market-based pricing systems for the Coast and Interior.
  • Enhance systems and processes to ensure complete, timely and accurate pricing and billing.

Objective 2.2: Conditions that promote safe and competitive forest and range sectors that contribute to sustainable forest and range based economies

Competitiveness is supported by an environment that encourages investment. This in turn is supported by the government working toward certainty on the land base and ensuring regulation and policy support competitiveness.

Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd.

A Crown agency that leads work to expand and maintain international markets and supports innovation and research in forest product development. More details can be found in the FII Ltd. Service Plan at: www.bcfii.ca/.

The Ministry works with the federal government and industry associations on international and trade agreements such as the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement. The Ministry also works with Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. on market access and acceptance issues to build new markets and grow existing markets for B.C. forest products. In 2008/09 the Ministry will develop a forests component to government’s bio-energy strategy.

Many rural B.C. economies are dependent on healthy and competitive forest and range industries. These in turn provide employment, community investment and other socio-economic benefits to British Columbians. With many First Nations living in forest-based communities, the government continues to promote opportunities for First Nations’ participation in the forest and range sectors.

Challenges associated with achieving the above objective include:

  • Macro-economic considerations such as commodity prices and exchange rates.
  • Trade-offs between socio-economic benefits. Two examples of trade-offs are (1) balancing maintenance and improvements to the forest road network between industrial, commercial and public access, and (2) balancing the economic interests of First Nations, industry and other stakeholders.

Strategies

  • Encourage research, industry innovation, quick adaptation, and development of marketing strategies, as well as improve communication of customer needs with industry.
  • Support development and implementation of the B.C. beef industry strategy.
  • Support socio-economic adjustment planning for communities affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
  • Continue to develop and improve a framework for managing safety in the forest sector.

Performance Measures

The Ministry has reviewed approaches to assess the effectiveness of its policies on industry competitiveness. Indicators such as the return on capital employed (ROCE) or capital investment are outcome measures. However, many factors in addition to provincial government actions, affect these measures. These include consumer tastes, and the actions of other governments in building and maintaining a strong infrastructure, providing competitive tax regimes, establishing environmental regulation and providing access to education and training. These factors, together with the decisions and activities of each company, especially their approach to innovation and marketing, make it difficult to attribute the activities of the Ministry to the forest sector’s ability to compete internationally.

The return on capital employed and measures of market access are reviewed semi-annually using information external to the Ministry. These are included with the economic trends in the strategic context section.

The Ministry is also interested in introducing a new measure to track the participation of First Nations in the forest sector. There are several options to present this information and these are under review for inclusion in 2009/10.

Performance Measure 5: Mountain pine beetle socio-economic adjustment plans

Performance Measure 2007/08 Forecast 2008/09 Target 2009/10 Target 2010/11 Target
Per cent of mountain pine beetle impacted communities covered by a mountain pine beetle socio-economic adjustment plan. 15% 56% 100% N/A
Data Source:  Impacted community data tracked internal to the Ministry of Forests and Range is based on local governments and beetle infested areas.

Discussion

Communities impacted by the mountain pine beetle epidemic are expected to face significant economic adjustment over the next decade. Socio-economic adjustment plans are expected to be completed by 2009/10 to guide mitigation strategies for all impacted communities. The number of impacted local governments (estimated at 34) and First Nations communities (estimated at 70) anticipated to be covered under these plans will change as the epidemic unfolds and therefore the projected targets for this measure will continue to evolve.

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