A comprehensive public engagement process on converting some volume-based forest licences to new or expanded area-based tree farm licences will take place over the next two months, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
People are invited to participate in a public discussion on the expansion of area-based forest management until noon May 30, 2014, at: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/foresttenures
This site has reference material, questions and answers, a discussion paper and an interactive blog where a conversation will occur online.
To keep the engagement open and neutral, an independent facilitator has been hired. The public engagement process will be led by veteran professional forester Jim Snetsinger, who will compile the feedback and provide a report to government by the end of June. Snetsinger, a former provincial chief forester, will also travel to at least 10 different B.C. communities to meet with stakeholders, First Nations, local governments and members of the public who express interest in contributing to the discussion.
The meetings will focus on the potential benefits that proponents seeking conversions may be able to provide, the criteria for evaluating applications, and the process for implementing conversions.
Conversions are not being considered on a provincewide basis. They are one “tool in the toolbox” that may help with mid-term timber supply issues in parts of the Interior that have been impacted by the mountain pine beetle.
The results of the engagement process will inform how government proceeds and whether legislative changes will be needed as a result of the feedback.