B.C.’s forests report

State of the forests reports are prepared by major forest jurisdictions around the world to meet the need for current, comprehensive, reliable and relevant forestry statistics. The State of British Columbia's Forests report has eight central themes. The following is a sampling of interesting facts from the latest report.

  • Dec. 20, 2010 9:00 a.m.

State of the forests reports are prepared by major forest jurisdictions around the world to meet the need for current, comprehensive, reliable and relevant forestry statistics. The State of British Columbia’s Forests report has eight central themes. The following is a sampling of interesting facts from the latest report.

Most of the data presented is current to 2008.

Forest Resources

* Nearly 60 per cent of B.C.’s 95 million hectares is classified as forest land.

* Trees more than 140 years old cover 41 per cent of B.C.’s forests.

* 83 per cent of B.C.’s forests are dominated by conifers – most commonly lodgepole pine, spruce, true fir, hemlock, and Douglas-fir.

* Overall, less than three per cent of B.C.’s original forest has been converted to non-forest uses such as agricultural fields, water reservoirs, and urban development.

Biological Diversity

* B.C. is the most diverse province in Canada in terms of ecosystems, plant and animal species, and timber species.

* About 1,345 plant and animal species rely on B.C. forests for some part of their lifecycle.

* 7.2 million hectares have been formally designated as wildlife habitat area or ungulate winter range.

* 49 native tree species are growing in British Columbia.

Forest Productivity

* Timber harvesting on public land averaged about 69 million cubic metres per year over the previous decade.

* The proportion of harvested areas reforested by planting has been increasing for more than 20 years. Since 1987 forest licensees have been required by law to reforest the areas they harvest.

Forest Health

* Over the last three decades, B.C. has averaged 2,300 wildfires per year. These fires have burned an average of 67,500 hectares per year.

* On a provincial level, the mountain pine beetle infestation has peaked and is now slowing down.

Soil and Water Resources

* Data shows general improvement in how forestry activities conserve soil resources. The percentage of harvested areas taken up by roads has declined to 3.5 per cent in 2008, down from about 4.6 per cent in the mid-1990s.

* Water quality in harvested areas has been thoroughly monitored with good results. Detailed assessments at more than 1,200 sites found only six per cent of forest roads with a high potential to deliver fine sediment into streams.

Carbon Cycles

* B.C.’s forests have historically stored large volumes of carbon. However, this has changed as large wildfires and mountain pine beetle infestation have resulted in B.C. forests becoming a net emitter of carbon dioxide.

* Reforestation and other forest management investments are projected to return B.C. forests to a carbon sink after 2020.

* Lumber and plywood products manufactured in B.C. store between 25 and 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year.

* By using wood residue instead of fossil fuels, B.C.’s pulp and paper producers have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions to one-third of 1990 levels.

Socio-Economic Benefits

* The value of B.C. forest product exports in 2009 was $7.6 billion.

* The forest sector is a major economic driver for B.C., accounting for seven per cent of employment.

* B.C. forests offer 20,000 kilometres of recreation trails and 23,000 campsites.

* 60 per cent of annual livestock forage is provided by grazing on Crown rangeland.

Framework Supporting Sustainable Benefits

* The framework supporting sustainable forest management includes forest law, institutional knowledge (workers, databases and resource inventories), as well as forest certification.

* Government conducted 16,000 inspections of forest operations in 2007-08 to assure compliance with the law.

* The total third-party certified area in B.C. now totals 54.1 million hectares.

This is more than any country in the world.

Visit www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/sof for more information on The State of British Columbia’s Forests and a copy of the third edition.

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