Protesters on Cortes Island are blocking Island Timberlands’ crews from harvesting timber on their privately owned land. You’ve likely seen video coverage of the Cortes Island situation or read news stories about the logging protest. We’ve included a video below from CTV News Vancouver Island (aired Friday, November 30th, 2012) for the purpose of correcting misinformation.

At about 2:02 minutes into the video, you’ll hear Leah Seltzer of Wildstands Community Alliance say:

“… facing challenges with these privately managed forest companies not having any legally binding regulations on their lands.”

This statement is completely false. As representatives of private managed forest owners across the province of B.C. we couldn’t let it slide.

Here’s the truth. Land assessed as Managed Forest Land Class is regulated by the Private Managed Forest Land Act and owners are bound by law to protect the following key public environmental values:

  • Fish habitat
  • Water quality
  • Soil conservation
  • Critical wildlife habitat
  • Reforestation

Not only are these values protected, but successive independent audits show the protection of these values on private managed forest land meets or exceeds the standard of protection on public lands.

The Private Managed Forest Land Council is the provincial regulatory agency, overseen by the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, to administer the Managed Forest Program.

Along with the Private Managed Forest Land Act, there are more than 30 acts and regulations that apply to managed forest land, including:

  • Fisheries Act
  • Water Act
  • Species At Risk Act
  • Wildlife Act
  • Drinking Water Protection Act
  • Wildfire Act
  • Heritage Conservation Act
  • Assessment Act
  • Environmental Management Act
  • Forest Act
  • Forest and Range Practices Act
  • Forest Practices Code of BC Act
  • Hazardous Products Act
  • Integrated Pest Management Act
  • Regional District Zoning Standards

So, yes—private managed forest companies are subject to legally binding regulations. In fact, they’re subject to a rigorous and comprehensive federal and provincial regulatory model that helps maintain some of the most productive and well-managed forests you’ll find anywhere in the world.