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BC failing to plant enough trees to sustain future timber supply

The British Columbia government has failed to sufficiently replant the forests it manages and needs to develop a plan, Auditor General John Doyle said in a report today.

"Significant areas of the forest are presently damaged by wildfire, diseases or pests such as mountain pine beetle, and the decision whether to replant lies with government," he said. "Unlike industry, government is not legally obligated to reforest. As such, very limited replanting has occurred."

The government is responsible for 90 percent of the 22 million hectares of forested land that are available for timber production and harvesting in the province, Doyle wrote.

The government's decisions today will have a big affect on the state of the province's forests in the future, he said. Presently it is not managing the forests in a way that would reverse the trend towards having less timber available for harvest and reduced species diversity in some areas, he said.

Nor has the government defined its objectives and therefore cannot make sure its management practices are effective, he said.

Doyle's six recommendations include developing a plan for forest stewardship and investing enough in silviculture to achieve long-term timber goals.

The forests, lands and natural resource operations ministry issued a statement saying it already has a management plan and is investing in reforestation.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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