British Columbia amending regulations to improve forest management, transparency; actions include new requirements for forest license holders to publish forest operations maps, new legal protection for rare habitats called 'ecological communities'

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

June 27, 2023 (press release) –

NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release
June 26, 2023 Ministry of Forests New actions will improve forest management, transparency

VICTORIA – Immediate steps will help expand public engagement in forest planning and protect some of the most rare and unique forest habitats throughout the province.

Regulations are being amended to strengthen forest management, including new requirements for forest licence holders to publish forest operations maps, new legal protection for rare habitats called "ecological communities" and enhanced management for designated recreation sites and trails.

“Supporting healthy forests and improved forest management is important to people, workers and communities. We are boosting forest conservation to better support ecosystem health, including rare and critical habitat,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “Opening the planning process to the public through the use of new digital tools will engender greater public trust and ensure forest resiliency.”

A key feature of the new regulations is the requirement for forest companies to publish a Forest Operations Map. Companies will soon be required to make available maps of proposed cutblocks and roads for public feedback into how harvesting can account for environmental values while responding to economic opportunity.

The Province has developed a web-based tool that companies will have the option to use to display these maps and invite public feedback. This digital mapping portal is currently being tested by BC Timber Sales, several forestry companies and will be launched fully in 2024.

Increased protection for rare and endangered species and habitats will be supported through a new regulation under the Forest and Range Practices Act that establishes a new protected habitat category known as Ecological Communities.

This new category establishes protections for rare habitats that are home to unique plants and support animals at risk, such as antelope-brush or needle-and-thread grass ecosystems, which only occurs in the most southern portion of the Okanagan Valley. These new protections strengthen environmental considerations within decision making and work to prevent the loss of rare habitats.

“Providing people with an easy, user-friendly tool to view maps of local forest operations will help to promote transparency and information sharing,” said Jennifer Gunter, executive director, BC Community Forest Association. “Forest operations maps have the potential to improve public confidence in our sector across the province.”

The amendments to forest and range regulations result from extensive consultation with First Nations, communities, stakeholders and industry, and professional associations. The new regulatory changes are an immediate and significant step in ensuring forest practices match the Province’s commitment to better stewardship of B.C.’s public forests.

Learn More:

To learn more about the regulation changes, visit:

  Ministry of Forests
Media Relations
250 896-4320

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