British Columbia's Forests Amendment Act introduced Oct. 4 will allow woodlot owners flexible management of assets, enable direct cutting licenses to support bioenergy sector

VICTORIA, British Columbia , October 4, 2011 (press release) – The Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Statutes Amendment Act, 2011, introduced Oct. 4, 2011 will streamline processes under the Forest Act, Foresters Act and Resort Timber Administration Act.

Proposed amendments under the Forest Act will:

  • Extend the tenure terms of a Master Licence to Cut to 10 years and a Free Use Permit to five years. These tenures, used by the energy and mines sectors to cut timber, will now have similar terms to tenures issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Oil and Gas Commission.
  • Allow woodlot owners to remove private land from their woodlots, at the discretion of the minister, to provide woodlot owners flexibility in managing their assets in changing economic times and to plan for retirement.
  • Enable direct award of Fibre Supply Licences to Cut to access wood residue and debris to support the growing wood bioenergy sector.
  • Ensure timely and accurate submission of information from timber cruises to calculate stumpage fees.
Proposed amendments to the Foresters Act will enable timber cruisers to be officially certified, to provide confidence that accurate information used to calculate stumpage is being collected. Timber cruising involves gathering data on the amount, type, grade and value of trees to be cut into timber in a particular cutblock.

Proposed amendments to the Resort Timber Administration Act will:
  • Allow for a more coordinated approach to administering Crown timber within controlled recreation areas, such as ski hills, by ensuring Crown timber on private land can be dealt with under the Act.
  • Reflect that the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is now the Minister responsible for the Act.
Quick Facts:
  • A Master Licence to Cut and associated cutting permit are required to conduct oil and gas activities on Crown Land where timber harvesting is necessary. The current term for this licence is five years. Proposed amendments under the Forest Act would double the term to 10 years.
  • A Free Use Permit provides the right to remove minor volumes of Crown timber to develop a mining claim. The current term for this type of permit is only one year. Proposed amendments under the Forest Act would increase the term up to five years.
  • B.C. has about 860 active woodlots, and aims to add up to 30 woodlots by March 31, 2014.
  • Each woodlot generates jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture and small-scale timber processing. Most, but not all woodlot licences, include private land.
  • Fibre Supply Licences to Cut have been created to enable bioenergy producers to access slash piles along roadsides and on log landings.
  • Timber cruising is defined as the measurement and estimation of volumes of standing and down Crown timber on a given parcel of land.

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