1 Forests and Land Use | West Coast Environmental Law

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Forests and Land Use

Land Use Planning for Nature, Climate and Communities: Taking Stock and Moving Forward

Subject(s): 
cumulative impacts; land use planning; climate change; forest carbon offsets; mineral tenure reform; green economy
Author(s): 
Jessica Clogg, Deborah Carlson
Summary: 

In this report West Coast Environmental Law analyzes the resource management direction provided by twenty years of strategic land use planning in BC to address three related questions:    

  1. How well do existing land designations and related resource management objectives manage the effects of cumulative environmental change from resource management and other human activities?
  2. Do BC’s existing land designations and resource management objectives provide for resilience and adaptability of ecological systems and human communities in the face of climate change?
  3. How could existing or new land designations be used to enable a ‘greener’ BC economy while safeguarding our natural life support systems?
     

All legally established, mapped areas with conservation-related management objectives at the landscape level or above were included in the analysis, which examined legislative requirements associated with relevant designations and related management objectives. Concurrently, ForestEthics Solutions released maps compiling existing environmental designations for the province as a whole for the first time. Based on data assembled in collaboration with several provincial ministries, the maps and legal analysis illustrate how BC’s collection of land-use designations masks a weak and fragmented approach to conservation at the provincial level.

Key Findings:

  1. BC has many forms of land use designations, but only 15.6% of BC’s land base is covered by an environmental designation that protects the land and water from most types of resource development.
  2. When it comes to managing for resilience, BC’s laws and policies are ‘hardwired for failure’.  Our laws and policies governing the nature, extent and distribution of various land use designations present barriers to maintaining resilient ecological systems and human communities. These barriers include:
  • Legal or policy caps on how much land may be protected and/or how great an impact on resource extraction is permitted
  • Exemptions and loopholes that allow economic considerations to trump conservation objectives
  • Designations and legal management objectives that are not applicable to most forms of development
  • Absence of mandatory triggers for conservation planning
  • Failure to recognize and give legal effect to First Nations decision-making authority in the context of land use planning and environmental decision-making
  1. Climate change was not explicitly taken into account in most strategic land use plans and resulting decisions about designations and land use objectives.
  2. Lack of overall strategic direction and gaps in the enabling legal framework are likely to hamper forests’ contribution to a ‘greener’ economy in BC, but with leadership from provincial and First Nations governments and collaboration with non-governmental organizations these challenges could be surmountable.
  3. With respect to many land designations in BC, our laws do not position us well for the rigorous application of forest carbon accounting standards, with potential environmental and economic costs to the province and project proponents.
     
Publication Date: 
February 2013
Year: 
2013
Pages: 
26
Date Catalogued: 
Thursday, February 21, 2013

WCEL Comments on BC's Draft Cumulative Effects Framework

Subject(s): 
Cumulative Effects
Author(s): 
Jessica Clogg, Anna Johnston and Hannah Askew
Summary: 

The BC government is developing a strategy to better assess and manage the cumulative ecological and social effects of past, present and future developments.

West Coast is very supportive of the overall policy commitment to undertaking periodic values-based regional cumulative effects assessments, and to using the results in operational, tactical and strategic decision-making. This submission to the BC government outlines our suggestions to clarify and strengthen the current draft of the BC Cumulative Effects Framework (CEF).

Publication Date: 
June 2016
Year: 
2016
Pages: 
6
Date Catalogued: 
Monday, June 27, 2016

Andrew Thompson Award 2014 Brochure

Subject(s): 
Andrew Thompson Award 2014 Brochure
Author(s): 
West Coast Environmental Law
Summary: 
The Andrew Thompson award was established in 2002 by West Coast Environmental Law and the Thompson family as a legacy to Dr. Andrew Thompson, and was made possible through the generosity of the Thompson family. The award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a significant lifetime contribution to environmental protection and sustainability in British Columbia through the law.
 
Dr. Andrew Thompson was one of the pioneers in environmental and resource law and one of BC’s foremost environmental lawyers. In acknowledgement that Dr. Thompson’s work bridged the fields of environmental and Aboriginal law and of his contributions to advancing justice for First Nations, the 2014 award recognized individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fields of environmental and Aboriginal law or to the revitalization, recognition and/or enforcement of Indigenous environmental law.
 
This publication highlights the 2014 award finalists.
Publication Date: 
November 2014
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Year: 
2014
Pages: 
2

Submissions re: BC’s Area Based Forest Tenure Consultation

Subject(s): 
Forest Tenure; Forestry
Author(s): 
Jessica Clogg
Summary: 

The provincial government issued a discussion paper in April 2014 which proposed giving a small group of hand-picked companies virtually exclusive harvesting rights over vast areas of the interior in mountain pine beetle impacted areas. If implemented, some companies who already have the right to harvest a certain volume of wood (which by volume are disproportionately large integrated forest products companies) would be invited to apply for licences that give the holder management control and near-exclusive harvesting rights over a specific area of land. The provincial government has proposed giving these companies new or expanded tree farm licences, which, unlike newer forms of area-based tenure (i.e., community forest agreements, First Nations woodland licences), are exclusively timber focused and designed for corporate rather than local control of forest lands.

In this sense, the provincial proposal is not really about “area-based tenure” per se but about how much control large-scale logging interests should have over our forests. It failed to ask the big questions: Who should be managing BC’s forests and for what purpose?  How can we address decades of unsustainable overcutting?  Instead, the provincial discussion paper looks at further entrenching corporate control. West Coast Environmental Law’s submissions address why this is a bad idea for British Columbians and our environment.

Publication Date: 
May 2014
Year: 
2014
Pages: 
4
Date Catalogued: 
Friday, May 30, 2014

Submissions re: BC’s Area Based Forest Tenure Consultation

Subject(s): 
Forest Tenure; Forestry
Author(s): 
Jessica Clogg
Summary: 

The provincial government issued a discussion paper in April 2014 which proposed giving a small group of hand-picked companies virtually exclusive harvesting rights over vast areas of the interior in mountain pine beetle impacted areas. If implemented, some companies who already have the right to harvest a certain volume of wood (which by volume are disproportionately large integrated forest products companies) would be invited to apply for licences that give the holder management control and near-exclusive harvesting rights over a specific area of land. The provincial government has proposed giving these companies new or expanded tree farm licences, which, unlike newer forms of area-based tenure (i.e., community forest agreements, First Nations woodland licences), are exclusively timber focused and designed for corporate rather than local control of forest lands.

In this sense, the provincial proposal is not really about “area-based tenure” per se but about how much control large-scale logging interests should have over our forests. It failed to ask the big questions: Who should be managing BC’s forests and for what purpose?  How can we address decades of unsustainable overcutting?  Instead, the provincial discussion paper looks at further entrenching corporate control. West Coast Environmental Law’s submissions address why this is a bad idea for British Columbians and our environment.

Publication Date: 
May 2014
Year: 
2014
Pages: 
4

West Coast Environmental Law Submission to the Special Committee on Timber Supply

Subject(s): 
Special Committee on Timber Supply, mountain pine beetle, precautionary principle
Author(s): 
Clogg, Jessica
Summary: 

On July 10, 2012 West Coast made submissions to a Special Committee on Timber Supply appointed by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to examine potential actions to address anticipated mid-term timber supply shortfalls in the central interior linked to the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

The West Coast submissions set out the following principles that should guide evaluation and decision-making regarding potential actions to mitigate timber supply impacts:

  • Enable “jobs for our children” by planning for more diverse community economic and business opportunities from forest lands that can be sustained over the long term.
  • Recognize and respect Aboriginal title and rights
  • Identify and implement new mechanisms for local self-determination and community benefit, and distribute benefits fairly
  • Respect ecological limits and apply the precautionary principle
  • Manage for resilient forests and resilient communities.
  • Ensure that decisions are informed by best available science and by Indigenous knowledge.

The submissions stressed that existing areas reserved for biodiversity, wildlife and other ecological values are already insufficient to meet these principles, and should not be sacrificed for short term economic benefit.

BC has a forestry law system that is stuck in the last century and it is time for change. The economic model it was designed to sustain is no longer serving BC communities. The challenges faced by communities in mountain pine beetle affected areas and by our forest sector are substantial, but keeping our heads in the sand for another few years will not produce solutions. It’s time to move forward with designing solutions and reforming our forestry laws for the 21st century.

Publication Date: 
July 2012
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2012
Pages: 
5
City: 
Vancouver
Date Catalogued: 
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Comments on Bill 47 Forest Statutes Amendment Act, 1997 Proposed Changes to Enforcement and Compliance Provisions: Addendum to July 24th, 1997 Proposed Changes to Part IV, Division 3 - Administrative Remedies in the Forest Practices Code of BC

Subject(s): 
Forestry, Land Use
Author(s): 
Rolfe, Chris
Summary: 

This brief is an addendum to West Coast Environmental Law Association's July 24th brief on proposed amendments to the administrative remedies provision in the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act. In that brief, West Coast Environmental Law Association raised concerns that the proposed amendments in Bill 47, the Forest Statutes Amendment Act, 1997 will significantly diminish effectiveness of the current compliance system while at the same time making the compliance system more cumbersome and costly to administer.

A number of other significant concerns with regard to Bill 47 have been raised by the BC Environmental Network Forest Caucus in their brief on Bill 47. West Coast Environmental Law Association shares those concerns.

This brief discusses several issues relevant to enforcement and compliance that have not been fully discussed in either the BCEN Forest Caucus brief or the West Coast Environmental Law Association July 24 brief. The following concerns are addressed in this brief:

  • Section 121 of Bill 47 changes section 154 of the Forest Practices Code -- the section which prohibits intentional interference with, or misleading, of enforcement staff and Forest Practices Board staff -- from an offence provision to an administrative penalty provision. This is not only a highly inappropriate use of administrative penalty provisions, but it may be unconstitutional.
  • Section 108 of Bill 47 deletes section 119 of the Forest Practices Code. This removes important guidance to Ministry of Forest staff in making determinations as to the quantum of fines for unauthorized harvesting.
  • Not allowing the Forest Practices Board to request reviews of determinations made under section 116.3(1) is inappropriate given the degree of discretion involved in these determinations.
  • Section 130 of Bill 47 appears to limit the ability of the Board to appeal determinations if it has not requested a review of the determination. This restricts the effectiveness of the Board and will likely increase the frequency of appeals.
Publication Date: 
July 1997
Year: 
1997
Pages: 
5
Date Catalogued: 
Tuesday, July 29, 1997

Tenure Background Paper: Kootenay Conference on Forest Alternatives

Subject(s): 
Forestry, Land Use
Author(s): 
Clogg, Jessica
Summary: 

The forest industry in British Columbia is at a turning point. People from diverse sectors of society are calling for change to the way we allocate and use our forests. Perspectives on the direction for change, however, are varied. Tenure reform could mean many things, including: addressing aboriginal title to forest lands; greater security over the land base for large forest companies; greater community control of forests; diversifying control over the forest; privatisation of public forest land; encouraging investment in more intensive fibre production; and/or creating incentives for more ecologically-oriented forest use.

Existing patterns of forest management are based on the legal structures through which private parties acquire access to and rights over public forest lands in BC. Changing these legal structures requires us to think creatively about how and to whom rights, responsibilities, and obligations to use and manage the forest should be allocated and for how long. Understanding the existing tenure system, the history of its development, and how it has served us provides an important foundation for this discussion.

Publication Date: 
October 1999
Year: 
1999
Pages: 
14
Date Catalogued: 
Friday, October 1, 1999

A Results-Based Forest and Range Practices Regime for British Columbia

Subject(s): 
Forestry, Forest management, British Columbia, Public Consultation, Ministry of Forests
Author(s): 
Clogg, Jessica; Gage, Andrew; Haddock, Mark
Summary: 

The BC Government has asked the public to comment on a paper entitled 'A Results-Based Forest and Range Practices Regime for British Columbia'. The Discussion Paper proposes extensive changes to the Forest Practices Code. We hope that the government will consider and incorporate public comment into any changes to the Code. Accordingly, this report is an extensive review of the Discussion Paper, providing both a critique and suggesting alternative approaches to amendments to the Code. However, we remain skeptical of the government's interest in public consultation due to the tight time-line imposed both on the public and on legislative drafters, as well as the fact that cuts to Ministry of Forests staff prior to opening the matter up for public discussion, all of which may constrain what type of Code BC can expect.

Publication Date: 
June 2002
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2002
Pages: 
75
City: 
Vancouver BC
Date Catalogued: 
Saturday, June 1, 2002

Sinking the Climate : will Canada's approach to carbon sequestration sink the Kyoto Protocol?

Subject(s): 
Air, Climate Change, Canada, Kyoto Protocol
Author(s): 
Rolfe, Chris
Summary: 

Recently released data shows that, if adopted, the Canadian position on the treatment of forests and soils under the Kyoto Protocol would obliterate the environmental impact of the Kyoto Protocol.

Publication Date: 
September 2000
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2000
Pages: 
17
City: 
Vancouver, BC
Date Catalogued: 
Monday, September 11, 2000
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