An innovative regulatory model, developed out of a partnership between forest owners and the provincial government, exists for BC’s private forest lands.

The regulatory model includes four key components:Measuring a culvert on private managed forest land

  1. Results-oriented environmental standards proven to protect key public environmental values.
  2. A cost-effective administrative structure.
  3. Incentives to attract more of BC’s private forest land into the Managed Forest Program.
  4. Existing federal and provincial regulations.

1. Results-Oriented Environmental Standards

The Private Managed Forest Land Act is a results-oriented regulatory approach that allows forest owners to use innovation and local knowledge to protect key public environmental values. Managed forest owners must protect the following environmental values

  • Water Quality and Fish Habitat

Managed forest owners conduct their forest management activities so as not to harm water quality and fish habitat. Sufficient streamside vegetation, including mature trees, is retained to maintain important elements of fish habitat, such as shading, nutrient contribution, large woody debris and stream bank stability. Landowners work with water purveyors to ensure drinking water is not adversely affected. The Ministry of Environment requires landowners to take action to address water quality concerns. Pesticide and fertilizer use around streams is restricted.

  • Soil Conservation

The conversion of productive forest land to permanent roads, landings and other uses must be minimized in order to preserve the amount of productive forest land. The regulations also aim to maintain slope stability.

  • Critical Wildlife Habitat

Managed forest owners provide opportunities for the study of critical wildlife habitat on their lands. Necessary habitat features that cannot be provided on Crown land may be protected through an agreement between government and the landowner.

  • Reforestation

All managed forest class land must be promptly regenerated with a healthy, commercially valuable stand of trees after harvesting or when timber is destroyed by fire or wind. Landowners are committed to growing trees and managing their forests.

Conducting harvesting on private managed forest land.

2.  A Cost Effective Administrative Structure

The Private Managed Forest Land Council (PMFLC) administers the regulatory standards and associated requirements of the Managed Forest Program.

The Council was established in 2004 to continue the administrative function previously performed by the Agricultural Land Commission. The roll of the Council includes:

  • Actively support private land forestry in British Columbia and work with landowners to increase the productivity of private forest lands.
  • Measure landowner performance through monitoring, auditing and handling public enquiries to ensure required forest practice standards are met.
  • Use a variety of regulatory enforcement tools to require remedial action where necessary and to impose penalties for non-compliance. Landowner performance is reported through the Council’s annual public reports.
  • Work together with landowners to teach about the regulatory requirements and offer ongoing educational opportunities.

3.     Incentives to Increase Forest Investment

A forest owner and a forester standing beside a stream.

To encourage responsible stewardship of BC’s private forests, landowners who commit to manage their lands for forestry under the Managed Forest Classification, and who continue to meet the environmental standards, are eligible to receive tax incentives. The incentives are designed to attract more landowners into the Managed Forest Program, generating more economic activity, jobs and expanded benefits for British Columbians.

4.     Other Legislation—Federal and Provincial

Landowners must ensure that all relevant federal and provincial legislation is observed. In British Columbia more than 30 Acts and regulations govern management activities on private forest land.

The chart below includes some of the key Acts and regulations relevant to private land, but it’s important for forest owners to remember:

  • It’s your responsibility to know what legislation and regulations apply before you commence any management activities.
  • Laws are dynamic and always evolving. Make sure to educate and update yourself regularly.
  • Contact your local government agencies, or representatives from your regional district or municipality, if you’re unsure about which laws apply to you.

Please visit our blog post, How to Know What Legislation Applies to Your Forest Land, for more information.

Assessment  Act Value, Assessment and Taxation of Private Land Ministry of Small Business and Revenue
Commercial Transport Act Load restrictions, access Ministry of Transportation
Environmental Management Act Detrimental environmental impacts and emergencies Ministry of Environment
Fisheries Act Fish habitat Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Forest Act Timber Scaling, Marking and Transportation Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Forest and Range Practices Act Uses and restrictions of Reserve land Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Forest Practices Code of BC Act Regulations for Forest Fire Prevention and Suppression; Control of destructive agents; Private Land Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Hazardous Products Act Sale or importation of prohibited and restricted products Ministry of Health (Federal)
Heritage Conservation Act Archaeological assets Tourism, Sports and the Arts
Integrated Pest Management Act Pesticide Use Ministry of Environment
Navigable Waters Protection Act Construction or placement of “works” on, over, under, through or across any navigable water Transport Canada (Federal)
Occupiers Liability Act Care towards persons entering premises Ministry of Attorney General
Regional District Zoning Standards Land Use Regional Districts
Transport of Dangerous Goods Act Handling and transportation of dangerous goods Ministry of Transportation
Trespass Act Posted and Enclosed Land Ministry of Attorney General
Environmental Management Act Spill prevention and reporting Ministry of Environment
Water Act Regulations for changes in and about streams, stream channel stability. Ministry of Environment
Wildfire Act Regulations for forest fire prevention and suppression; control of destructive agent Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Workers Compensation Act Industrial Health & Safety Regulations Labour and Citizens’ Services