VICTORIA - Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson issued the following statement today with regard to proposed amendments to the Forest Act that would enable the conversion of volume-based forest licences to area-based forest licences:
"The mountain pine beetle infestation has had a devastating environmental impact on the province's Interior forests and significant economic impact on forestry-dependent communities. It is important that the provincial government have as many tools as possible to enhance mid-term timber supply.
"In response to the 2012 Special Committee on Timber Supply's report and to improve forest stewardship and support community resiliency, we proposed amendments to the Forest Act that would enable the conversion of volume-based forest licences to area-based forest licences.
"Area-based tenures can act as an incentive for enhanced silviculture, since the licence holder who is making the investment will gain the benefit, which is not the case for volume-based licences.
"This is an important piece of public policy, however, it has become clear to me that greater public engagement is needed before legislative amendments can proceed. We will therefore be initiating a process of broader public consultation this summer based on the recommendations of the special committee and the proposed legislation.
"More public engagement will ensure everyone is better informed about area-based tenures, their intent and their benefits."
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations