It’s hard to comprehend all there is to know about any given subject. Forestry policy and practice in British Columbia is no exception. A few months back, we came to terms with the fact that most people aren’t as familiar with the Managed Forest Program as we are. What follows is the second in a four-part series titled Managed Forest Fundamentals designed to remedy the situation. The four fundamentals are:

  1. A Provincial Regulatory Model
  2. The Managed Forest Council
  3. Key Environmental Protections
  4. Incentives for Landowners

We’re not brain scientists, so we can’t say for sure, but it seems possible that similarities in the names: Private Forest Landowners Association and Private Managed Forest Land Council create confusion about the roles, responsibilities and purposes of the two fundamentally different organizations.*

*Please note, since we wrote this article the Private Managed Forest Land Council changed its name to the Managed Forest Council.

To clarify: The Private Forest Landowners Association (PFLA) is a non-profit organization and the Managed Forest Council (MFC) is a regulatory agency.

Because you’re busy, and we like to keep things simple, here are three quick and easy strategies to tell the difference between a non-profit organization and a regulatory agency.

1. Look at the group’s activities. What do they do?

As a non-profit organization, the primary activities of the PFLA are advocacy and education. Activities best described by words like:

  • Educate
  • Promote
  • Inform
  • Network
  • Advocate
  • Communicate
  • Support
  • Train
  • Policy monitor
  • Community

As a regulatory agency, the primary activity of the MFC is to administer the forest practices components of the Managed Forest Program. Activities best described by words like:

  • Regulate
  • Monitor
  • Enforce
  • Standards
  • Audit
  • Fine
  • Restrict
  • Administer
  • Review
  • Investigate

2. Consider who belongs to the group. How do people join?

As a non-profit organization, PFLA boasts a diverse membership of forest owners from across the province—the large to the small, the coastal to the interior, the novice tree farmer to the professional forester. PFLA is governed by a board of directors and members join to receive the benefits associated with belonging to the group.

As a regulatory agency, the MFC consists of five council members and an executive director. Members of the MFC are either appointed or elected to the group (the provincial government appoints two members, forest owners elect two members, and the four members elect the chair). As a group, the MFC administers the Private Managed Forest Land Legislation.

3. Identify the purpose of the organization. Why does it exist?

The PFLA was established in 1995 and exists to promote the interests of private forest owners in a province where almost all (95%) of land and forests are publicly owned.

The MFC was established as an act of government and exists to administer and enforce the Private Managed Forest Land Legislation.

Please visit the Managed Forest Council website for specific information on the legislation, the members and the functions of the council.

We hope this clears up any confusion about the fundamental differences between the two organizations. We look forward to continuing to shed light on the fascinating (okay, we’re fascinated) policies, procedures and frameworks in place to make the Managed Forest Program a successful policy program for forest owners, communities and British Columbians.