A 10-year forest inventory plan for B.C. was released Friday with an average annual investment of $8 million over the life of the plan.
The Landbase Investment Strategy will ensure 35 million hectares are inventoried in mountain pine beetle affected and other priority areas, Steve Thomson, Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said Friday.
“Developing a robust forest inventory plan was a top priority for my ministry, as it is so central to our Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan. The forest inventory program has the financial certainty it needs to fulfil its mission throughout the next 10 years.”
The plan outlines nine goals, each with five and 10 year targets, ensuring no forest cover data is older than 30 years, while integrating 100 per cent of harvest, reforestation and fire information updates into the inventory. Developed in consultation with a variety of industry and academic experts, the forest inventory plan is guided by a common vision for an efficient, reliable and complete forest inventory.
Key strategies include focusing resources where need is the greatest, collaborating with stakeholders, public reporting of program performance, and using a mix of new cost-effective technologies such as satellite imagery, high resolution digital aerial photography, and software applications for managing large data sets, a government press release noted.
Information produced by the forest inventory program is used in many ways, such as forest condition forecasts, timber-supply analysis, silviculture, timber-harvest planning, habitat mapping, wildfire risk assessment, and biodiversity assessments.
Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal MLA Donna Barnett said there will be 22 million seedlings planted in 2013.
“It’s a 56 per cent increase from the 14.5 million seedlings planted last year. In 2014 there’ll be another 22.7 million seedlings planted, and also producing select seed to reforest at least 123,000 hectares and then in 2014/15 there’ll be an investment of $11 million on the provincial fertilization program. That will fertilize about 21,000 hectares.”
The fertilization program should result in an additional 460,000 cubic metres of timber, she said, explaining the plan reflects the ministry’s “one land manager approach.”
Cariboo North Independent MLA Bob Simpson welcomes any additional investment in forest inventory.
“As the minister indicates we should be able to re-inventory our forests in a more cost-effective manner as a result of new technologies being available.”
Simpson said he’d prefer a tighter timeline and “more up front financial commitment” because the province will soon be making critical timber supply and forest investment decisions in many areas of the province that require updated inventory data.
“While we are in a tight fiscal environment, investments in forest industry and forest health should be seen as investments that will ensure we get greater economic returns and revenue from our public forests in the future,” he said.