Canadian Forest Service Publications

Treading the path to sustainable forestry: New directions in Canada with particular reference to British Columbia. 2001. Wilson, W.R.; Wang, S. Pages 131-141 in A. Niskanen and J. Väyrynen,, editors. EFI Proceedings No. 36 International IUFRO Symposium - Economic sustainability of small-scale forestry, March 20-26, 2001, Joensuu, Finland. European Forest Institute, Torikatu, Finland.

Year: 2001

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 19643

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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In response to the change in social values, sustainable forest management (SFM) is emerging as a defining feature of modern society. Reflecting the value realignment, Canada has made significant progress in shifting towards an SFM paradigm. New national policies and initiatives have been positioned in recent years led by the development of a national forest sector strategy and the endorsement of a set of science-based criteria and indicators (C&I) with their roots in the Montreal Process on the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. British Columbia (BC), with much of the globe's remaining coastal temperate rainforests and one of Canada's largest forest provinces by any measure, has implemented a wide array of policy changes and programs in an effort to further promote SFM. The key components of the BC SFM package include multi-stakeholder land use planning, a commitment to double the protected areas, and the codified prescription of forest management. More recently, BC has re-calibrated the Forest Practices Code in pursuit of operational efficiency, established pilot community managed forest tenures, promoted incremental silviculture and tried to encourage employment in the sector. The emerging paradigm has resulted in new directions in forest practices. In particular, the question of forest renewal and the integration of non-timber values into forestland use have become key issues to policy-makers and sector stakeholders. Given the need to balance social expectations, sustain the forest ecology and work within economics realities, there is little reason to expect that the path to SFM will be prescriptive or without displacement. Transition dynamics can, however, be smoothed, albeit only to a degree, by the rigorous examination of SFM drivers, SFM characteristics, stakeholder perspectives, market signals, and the institutional setting. This paper will examine the SFM policy efforts of Canada and British Columbia.