Private Forests, Public Benefits: Sustainable Forest Management That Benefits Neighbouring Communities
Only about 1% of the total BC landbase is Managed Forest Land. (Visit the PFLA website for details on what Managed Forest Lands are: https://pfla.bc.ca/about/managedforestland/). However, communities that find themselves neighbours of Private Managed Forest Land can benefit from the long-term approach to forest management that Private Managed Forest Land owners commit to.
Managed Forest Lands are subject to regulatory oversight, through the Private Managed Forest Land Act, and over 35 other legislative regulations, including the Wildlife Act, Species at Risk Act and Drinking Water Protection Act.
In addition, Private Managed Forest Land owners often go above and beyond the regulatory requirements because they have invested in the acquisition of the land, and are motivated to protect that investment. Long-term, sustainable forest management is a given for Private Managed Forest Land owners.
For Private Managed Forest Land owners, sustainable forest management means considering not only harvest planning, but things like reforestation, pest management, and wildfire management and risk reduction. All of these things benefit neighbours because when it comes to ecosystems and threats like wildfire, property lines disappear. Take for example the resources invested by many Private Managed Forest Land owners to reduce the risk of wildfire on their Managed Forest Lands – the benefits to neighbours of preventing large wildfires is profound.
Recreational access is another benefit to neighbouring communities that some Private Managed Forest Land owners offer. This can be a significant undertaking for the Managed Forest land owner, requiring consideration for liability, public safety, and mitigation of the risk of theft, vandalism and trespass. However where access opportunities exist, they are mostly greatly appreciated by those able to enjoy the outdoors on some of BC’s Private Managed Forest lands. For more information and a PFLA Factsheet, ‘Managed Forest Owners Make Good Neighbours’, visit https://pfla.bc.ca/fact-sheets/