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Understanding and finding solutions to the state of the NSR lands in British Columbia 2011

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UNDERSTANDING AND FINDING SOLUTIONS TO THE STATE OF THE NSR LANDS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA  by  Benjamin Peter Harper-Heir  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE DEGREE OF  BACHELOR OF SCIENCE in The Faculty of Forestry Forest Resource Management   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April 2011  © Benjamin Peter Harper-Heir ii  Abstract With the mountain pine beetle infestation beginning to wind down, attempting to quantify the amount of Non-Sufficiently-Restocked (NSR) land is one that has caused arguments with different estimates ranging from as high as 9.1 million hectares to as low as 240 thousand hectares.  An analysis of this problem has concluded that there is not enough evidence, due to a lack of government surveys, to come up with a definitive number.  This lack of evidence has lead to an unclear, and poorly carried out reforestation program, resulting in the lowest rates of planted seedlings in 20 years.  This decline will severely hamper the long term growing volume in the provinces forest and is one which needs to be dealt with quickly.  A province-wide inventory of all mountain pine beetle and other NSR must be carried out with funding from all levels of government and perhaps with the help of carbon credit revenue.  Once this analysis has been completed a pointed silviculture strategy must drawn up, using criteria such as feasible access, site-index, cost, understory success, fertilization potential and hydrology concerns to create a realistic, provincial, management plan.  Once this plan is created, further sources of revenue can be pursued with the ability to demonstrate that the problem is understood and that the money will be put to a targeted use with a reachable outcome.  With the forest sector beginning to turn around and create revenue for the province once again, it is reasonable to expect that province would attempt to put some of this money back into managing this valuable resource.       KEYWORDS: Non-Sufficiently-Restocked, NSR, mountain pine beetle restoration, provincial silviculture strategy, Inventory Gross NSR, Silviculture Net NSR. iii   Table of Contents Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... iii List of Tables ............................................................................................................................... v List of Figures ............................................................................................................................ vi Acknowledgements: ...................................................................................................................... vii Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 8 History/Mandate of the British Columbia Forest Service ........................................................... 8 Mountain Pine Beetle History ..................................................................................................... 8 The Importance of Accurate NSR Estimates ............................................................................ 10 Determining the NSR Extent in BC .......................................................................................... 11 Britneff‟s NSR Estimates .......................................................................................................... 12 Ministry of Forests, Pat Bell‟s NSR Estimates ......................................................................... 15 Best Estimate Based on Conflicting Evidence .......................................................................... 17 How to Address the NSR Land Problem in British Columbia .................................................. 19 Planting Rates ............................................................................................................................ 20 Solutions to understanding the NSR problem and ........................................................................ 21 1.  Surveys ................................................................................................................................. 22 Conduct surveys on all feasible areas hit by MPB, fire and other forest health issues ............. 22 Analysis of current FFT programs (mulch, knockdown, under-story planting) .................... 22 2.  Targeted silviculture applications based on: ........................................................................ 24 Access .................................................................................................................................... 24 Cost ........................................................................................................................................ 24 Site Index ............................................................................................................................... 24 Understory Success................................................................................................................ 24 Fertilization Potential ............................................................................................................ 25 Hydrology Concerns .............................................................................................................. 25 3.  Benefits................................................................................................................................. 26 Mid-term timber supply gap and Long Term Sustainable Yield (LTYS) ............................. 26 iv  Carbon ................................................................................................................................... 26 4.  Funding................................................................................................................................. 27 Carbon Credits ....................................................................................................................... 27 Federal Government .............................................................................................................. 27 Provincial Government .......................................................................................................... 28 Industry/Licences and tenure holders .................................................................................... 30 Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 31 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 31 Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 33                  v   List of Tables Table 1. NSR Statistics and areas disturbed by wildfire, by pests and by MPB and fire combined ....................................................................................................................................................... 13 Table 2. Changes in Not Satisfactorily Restocked Crown Land .................................................. 17 Table 3. Summary of not-satisfactorily-restocked land as presented in the MFR annual report for 1988/89 ......................................................................................................................................... 18 Table 4. Areas surveyed and planted under the Forests-For-Tomorrow program by fiscal year . 30                     vi    List of Figures Figure 1. Timber harvest from areas regulated and not-regulated by AACs, 1910– 2008. ............ 9 Figure 2. Timber Supply Forecast for British Columbia, 2000-2150. .......................................... 10 Figure 3. Cumulative areas by year for inventory gross NSR, for silviculture NSR and for MPB and fire combined. ........................................................................................................................ 15 Figure 4. Changes in the Not Satisfactorily Restocked (NSR) Crown Land ................................ 16 Figure 5. Trends from the MFR annual reports ............................................................................ 19 Figure 6. Long-term timber supply forecast under three scenarios with 1990s average actual harvest level, 2008–2158. ............................................................................................................. 20 Figure 7. Number of Trees Planted Each Year in British Columbia: 1950-2010 ......................... 21 Figure 8. Government of Canada Response/Stimulus Package/Fiscal Direction ......................... 28 Figure 9. Government of British Columbia Response/Stimulus Package/Fiscal Direction ......... 29                 vii   Acknowledgements:  I would like to pass on my gratitude to the faculty of forestry members at the University of British Columbia and the College of New Caledonia for continually inspiring me their wealth of knowledge.  I owe particular thanks to Dr. Stephen J. Mitchell, Dr. Bruce C. Larson and Edward Morrice for their ability to bring the topic of silviculture alive for me.  Special thanks must go to my mother and father who have helped so many times along this road, not only in academia, but in life.  Thank you.    8  Introduction British Columbia is currently heading out of the largest recorded mountain pine beetle infestation ever recorded in North America.  In the wake of this devastating natural disaster, the pine forests of the province have been left with close to 80% mortality. (Guy, 2007)  It would seem logical that this huge event would promote a large recovery program by a province that places such a high value on their forest - as not only a source of revenue, but as a resource that carries a much higher significance than can be quantified in economic terms.  However, the number of trees being planted province wide reached a 20 year low last season, an accurate number of the amount of land feasible to be restored is source of much argument, and no over-arching plan is in place to mitigate the long term damage that this event will continue to carry for many decades. This paper will attempt to understand the reasons for this lack of due diligence by the provincial government and point to solutions that are needed turn this lagging effort around. History/Mandate of the British Columbia Forest Service Historically, the British Columbia Forest Service has been tasked with finding solutions too many different forestry problems over the past hundred years.  It was founded in 1912 and has maintained a proud history of tending British Columbia‟s forests, of which 95% are publicly owned.  (Ministry of Forest, 2011)  It has been through several different name changes, three royal commissions and countless policy changes.  From the 1956 Commission stating that the planting of 7 million single species trees was inadequate, to passing of the 1987 law which mandated that every tree harvested must be re-planted and further more that the province of British Columbia would commit to “reforesting areas lost to wildfire or insect infestations.” (Brown, 1995)  The passing of this law sparked a silviculture boom across province to deal with the  huge amount of concern swirling around areas of harvested but not sufficiently restocked land. Mountain Pine Beetle History Having the responsibility of following such a proud and successful history of solving the provincial has again become an increasingly important issue for the British Columbia Forest Service (now known as the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) with the infestation of the mountain pine beetle beginning in the late 1990‟s.  This „epidemic‟, which began with an attack on small pockets of mature lodgepole pine, quickly spread across a majority 9  of the province and is presently estimated to cover 16.5 million hectares of grey/red (dead) or attacked green (dying) trees, or 675 million cubic meters of wood, half of the province‟s commercial lodgepole pine trees.  (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2010)  This massive outbreak has been attributed to several factors ranging from climate change, which has created warmer winters which do not produce the cold temperatures in the early winter to kill off the beetles, to a policy of planting large areas of British Columbia with single species lodgepole pine plantations. One way the government of British Columbia reacted to deal with this large accumulation of beetle killed forest was to increase the provincial Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) – targeting MPB killed stands, a move attempting to gain the maximum value from the attacked pine before the timber lost its “shelf life”.  Estimates of shelf-life typically vary between 5 and 20 years. (Bell, 2009)  Past this time, the timber becomes too dry, creating checking, to be useful to the mills for anything besides bio-fuel or wood-pellets.  This increase in the AAC has created the authorization of large scale pine beetle salvage operations as graphed below in Figures 1 and 2.  Figure 1. Timber harvest from areas regulated and not-regulated by AACs, 1910– 2008. (Ministry of Forest, 2011)  10   Figure 2. Timber Supply Forecast for British Columbia, 2000-2150. At the same time, the number of fires in the province has increased, with 2009 accounting for 43% of all the fires in Canada, and three times the provincial average in BC. (Canada, 2010) This combination of fires, large levels of harvesting and huge areas of dead forest has lead to an unprecedented amount of land in British Columbia that is not currently growing a healthy forest. This land is categorized as NSR (Non-Sufficiently-Restocked), an unsettling situation in a forestry conscious province. The aftermath of the mountain pine beetle has created a serious provincial debate: how much of the province is actually categorized as NSR, and how should the government deal with this growing problem?  In order to tackle these questions, the scope of the devastation must first be understood along with an explanation of why the people of BC should care about NSR and the current crisis. The Importance of Accurate NSR Estimates The state of British Columbia‟s NSR is of importance because these statistics are a reflection of the state of regeneration in the province‟s forests, a window into the overall health of the provincial forest land base, and, as many professional foresters consider it, a “strong indicator of 11  whether or not sustainable forest management is being carried out.” (Britneff, 2011)  The forests of British Columbia not only provide revenue for the province, but help to enhance communities, and protect drinking water and salmon habitat. In their 2009 discussion paper on silviculture, the Ministry of Forests placed a one trillion dollar value on all the natural capital (ecosystem services, timber, etc.) that are provided by the forests. (Ministry of Forests and Range, 2009) Furthermore, the management of forest resources is not a short sighted job, but one that needs to include careful strategies and policy making that flow hundreds of years into the future.  As John Betts, the executive director of the Western Silviculture Contractors Association puts it; “It is in the public‟s interest, and particularly the communities that depend on our forests, to know these figures so they can properly consider them as a basis for making the stewardship decisions needed to tend this valuable resource. And it is not just today‟s public I am thinking about that has an interest. There are the citizens who, in many cases, haven‟t been born yet. They and their communities will inherit the consequences of the decisions we make today.” (Betts, 2010) Determining the NSR Extent in BC Deciphering what exactly the NSR figures are is where controversy arises, partially due to differing opinions, partially due to politics, but mainly due to a lack of verifiable information. Two credible sources that have each taken extensive amounts of time studying the situation will be examined below, each showing their attempt to categorize and understand the present state of affairs.  To determine the amount of NSR land that is currently in British Columbia, an understanding of what constitutes NSR must be defined, along with the different categories that it can be divided into. NSR or Non-Sufficiently-Restocked Land is defined as:   Areas where the land is not currently forested, but is capable of supporting commercial forests. (Ministry of Forests and Range, 2009) One of the major difficulties in gaining a grasp on the actual magnitude of the NSR land comes from defining the secondary definitions stemming from the original characterization.  The two main categories from which NSR is classified into are: Inventory Gross NSR: Derived from timber inventory and depicts the total NSR (all areas that are not currently supporting a forest). (Britneff, 2011) 12  Silviculture Net NSR: Derived from inventory NSR and depicts the area that is feasible and practical to plant (Britneff, 2011) Through different interpretations of these definitions, two vastly different scenarios have been derived by the aforementioned credible sources.  The first one comes from Anthony Britneff, a 39 year forest service veteran, and the second from the former Minister of Forests, Pat Bell.  The two scenarios will be described below, followed by an analysis which will attempt to find a logical answer to their question: how much NSR land is in British Columbia? Britneff’s NSR Estimates Anthony Britneff tackles this problem by sifting through the many studies which have been conducted on MPB infested forests, interviewing individuals working in the industry and using what information he can glean from government documents.  In his background paper to his presentation given to at the February 2011 Western Silviculture Contractors Association on British Columbia‟s Unprecedented Reforestation Challenge, he has arrived at several conclusions.  His first major conclusion attempts to quantify the entire NSR in British Columbia by adding up five separate figures: 1) “The inventory gross NSR on the forest ministry‟s books for fiscal year 2000/01, but not updated since, is 2.762 million hectares. 2) 70 per cent of the area burned by wildfire from 1998/99 to 2009/10 [0.7(un-regenerated %) x 1,076,643ha], adds another 753,650 hectares to the area of inventory gross NSR. 3) 30 per cent of the area infested by mountain pine beetle from 1998/99 to 2009/10 [0.30(un-regenerated %) x 16,256,880] is similarly considered inventory gross NSR, which adds another 4.877 million hectares to the total. 4) An estimated 200,000 hectares of inventory gross NSR from small- scale salvage logging conducted since 2000/01 and on which the provincial government waived the reforestation responsibilities of logging companies. This NSR area could be greater. 5) Finally, an estimated 0.5 million hectares of additional inventory gross NSR from other forest health disturbances incremental to endemic losses and attributable to climate change. 13  This gives an estimated total (inventory gross) NSR area of 9.1 million hectares.” (Britneff, 2011) Table 1. NSR Statistics and areas disturbed by wildfire, by pests and by MPB and fire combined. (Britneff, 2011)   Several calculations were needed to arrive at this point.  Britneff first states that: “...the forest ministry has conducted NSR surveys on only a fraction of those lands -- 360,000 hectares out of 17.38 million hectares of forestland disturbed by the mountain pine beetle (16.3 million hectares) and fire (1.08 million hectares) since 1998.” (Britneff, 2011)  He has thus had to estimate the area of inventory gross NSR and silviculture net NSR from government records and from current empirical evidence being gathered from the field.  To gain an estimate of the amount of mountain pine beetle forest that did not have an adequately regenerating understory, he went to 14  two experts who have extensive experience studying the secondary structure in forests that have been attacked by mountain pine beetles; David Coates of the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations and Philip Burton of the Canadian Forestry Service. Coates‟ estimate, based on field studies in north central BC, is that: “…20 to 25% of the area affected had very low levels of stocking and would be considered NSR by just about any criteria. Another 40 to 50% of the area is stocked with green trees but depending on species suitability criteria and well-spacing criteria may or may not be NSR. Some 25 to 30% is clearly well stocked.” (Britneff, 2011) While Burton‟s research indicates: “…available data indicate that pure pine stands constitute a minority of the forest area affected by the mountain pine beetle . . . , and that more than 40% of stands dominated by lodgepole pine . . . have adequately stocked understories.” (Britneff, 2011) From these conclusions, Britneff looks at the ratio applied to total (inventory gross) NSR when compared to the silviculture net NSR from 1988/89 to 2000/01 (see table 1), and determines that the ratio is 3:1. Then, taking and even more conservative approach of applying a 4:1 ratio to his estimated total NSR area of 9.1 million hectares, he comes out with a final estimate of the silviculture net NSR economically feasible for reforestation that totals 2.3 million hectares. 15   Figure 3. Cumulative areas by year for inventory gross NSR, for silviculture NSR and for MPB and fire combined. (Britneff, 2011)  Ministry of Forests, Pat Bell’s NSR Estimates On the opposite end of the spectrum, Pat Bell has released his findings on the total amount of NSR at 240 000 hectares, with a potential for 700 000 hectares to be added through the addition of more extensive surveys. (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2010) Figure 4, originally taken from the Ministry of Forests Practices Branch silviculture statistics web-site, illustrates the governments tracking of the NSR in question.  16   Figure 4. Changes in the Not Satisfactorily Restocked (NSR) Crown Land (Silviculture, 2009/2010) A second method of tracking the success that the government is achieving in their reforestation of British Columbia was initiated in 2003 with the start of “Ministry Service Plans” and used NSR as part of a “Key Outcome Indicator”. (Eng, 2010)  This indicator was then used for the following 6 years to determine the ratio of area reforested to area harvested or lost to fire and pests, however this indicator was not part of the current 2010/11 – 2012/13 service plan and thus isn‟t included in the table.  The goal if this indicator is to have a ratio that is greater than 1.0. The results are listed below:  17  Table 2. Changes in Not Satisfactorily Restocked Crown Land (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2010) Performance Results Performance Measure 2005/06 Actual 2006/07 Actual 2007/08 Actual 2008/09 Target 2008/09 Actual Ratio of area reforested to area harvested or lost to fire and pest (unsalvageable losses) 0.94 0.90 0.83 0.82 0.78 NOT ACHIEVED  This shows that the government is willing to admit that their reforestation efforts are not being achieved to their standards, but their estimates and those put forth by Britneff are so vastly different that the Forest Practices Board stepped in to do an independent analysis of the situation. Best Estimate Based on Conflicting Evidence The summery of that report “A backgrounder on NSR,” points to several reasons for this disparity.  First, in 2001, the Ministry of Forests began using Vegetation Resources Inventory (VRI) instead of traditional hands-on forest mapping.  The VRI data was intended to be value neutral, meaning it wasn‟t used to make judgments on land with “cultural attributes” such was NSR land, non-commercial brush and others making it nearly impossible to quantify the actual amount of NSR in the province. (Eng, 2010)  This switch to VRI data also made it possible for the government to remove 2 million hectares of “low priority” NSR lands from their inventories as that classification of land was not recognized in the new surveys.  These 2 million hectares are illustrated in Table 3. 18  Table 3. Summary of not-satisfactorily-restocked land as presented in the MFR annual report for 1988/89 (Eng, 2010)  The report points to three key categories from which comparisons can be drawn: “Low Priority NSR: is the areas that were not satisfactorily restocked but considered to be unmanaged. This category was not estimated by the ministry after 2001 so that amount is used in the figure in subsequent years. Industry NSR: is “current NSR” resulting from harvesting. It is the sum of post-87 Major licensee and post-88 BCTS NSR.  Ministry NSR: is the backlog NSR from harvesting (pre-87) and the NSR from natural disturbances but only those disturbances that have been reported to the ministry‟s silviculture tracking database. It is the sum of the pre-82 backlog, 1982 to 87 backlog and post-87 ministry NSR.” (Eng, 2010)  A key difference to note is that Bell refers to 2008/2009 when stating his NSR figures and Britneff refers to 2001 and can be seen in Figure 5 below.  19   Figure 5. Trends from the MFR annual reports (Eng, 2010) The Forest Practices Board report is unable to come up with any substantial or concrete numbers due to a lack of survey data.  It does however, make a recommendation stating that an inventory of all lands harmed by fire, insects and disease in the last 5-7 years should be could be conducted to help verifiable facts to the table.  Hence, without the presence of concrete, supportable evidence, the report‟s closing words regarding Britneff and Bell's estimates of the NSR are forced to state: “The truth may be out there – but it is likely somewhere in between.” (Eng, 2010)   How to Address the NSR Land Problem in British Columbia Left with this information to ponder, the fact remains that there are large areas of British Columbia that are currently not growing new trees. This gap will lead to a large dip in the amount of available timber in the future and poses a serious threat to the British Columbia forest sector.  Figure 6 illustrates this problem by showing two modeled scenarios.  Both have the end result of a large drop off in the amount of future available timber in British Columbia. 20   Figure 6. Long-term timber supply forecast under three scenarios with 1990s average actual harvest level, 2008–2158. (Ministry of Forest, 2011)  Planting Rates It would seem that the main solution to keep this drop-down of available timber from extending any further into the future than is absolutely necessary is through the planting of trees in areas that have been affected by the mountain pine beetle.   However, this is not the current case in the British Columbia reforestation sector.  In the early and mid 2000‟s, planting rates for the number of seedling being sown and planted increased along with the rise in AAC.  But when the timber market began to slow, these rates began to show a steep decrease, reaching record lows in the 2011 season (see figure 7).  Rob Scagel, a consultant to B.C.‟s tree-planting industry, tracks forestry statistics and stated: “‟You‟d have to go back 20 years to see such a low level of planting,‟ Scagel says. „It‟s sheer bloody chaos. The companies are canceling orders. Nurseries are being told to cut prices. Tree planters are being told to cut prices. And yet both seedling prices and planting prices are at a 30-year low, we‟re planting trees right now at 1970‟s and 1980‟s prices‟” (Parfitt, Western Silviculture Contractors Association, 2010).  21   Figure 7. Number of Trees Planted Each Year in British Columbia: 1950-2010. (B.C. Ministry of Forests, 2010)  Solutions to understanding the NSR problem and A road-map is laid out below of the suggested order to follow when tackling this confusing NSR scenario and helping to improve planting rates is the province.  It will include the possible benefits to the province, and potential sources of funding.  Each point will be discussed individually. 1. Surveys undertaken:  All feasible areas hit by MPB, fire and other forest health issues  Analysis of current FFT programs (mulch, knockdown, understory planting) 2. Targeted Silviculture applications based on:  Access  Cost  Site Index  Understory Success  Fertilization Potential 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 300,000 N u m b e r o f T re e s  (  ' 0 0 0 ) Year Number of Trees Planted Each Year in British Columbia Planting on All Tenures 22   Hydrology Concerns 3. Benefits  Carbon  Mid-term timber supply gap + LTSY 4. Funding  Carbon  Federal Government  Provincial government  Industry 1.  Surveys Conduct surveys on all feasible areas hit by MPB, fire and other forest health issues In order to gain a full understanding of what exactly needs to be done, it is first essential to see what is out there.  In his speech at the Association of British Columbia Forest Professional conference in March, former Chief Forester Larry Pederson gave several recommendations pertaining to where he believed the forest sector in British Columbia needed to be headed and how to get there.  One of those recommendations was: “We need to spend more on Forest Inventory and other forms of basic monitoring.” (Pederson, 2011)  Once this information has been compiled, a strategic, province- wide silviculture plan can be drawn up. Information that will be essential to gather will range from:  Site index of attacked areas   Regeneration success of under-story species (also detailing variety and spacing of species regenerating)  Proximity to valuable watersheds  Geographical location – feasible to access Analysis of current FFT programs (mulch, knockdown, under-story planting) A second analysis is also recommended.  In an attempt to restore the beetle killed stands the government implemented the “Forest-For-Tomorrow” program, which has incorporated varying 23  silviculture techniques over the last 3 to 4 years and it would make sense to follow up with surveys of the success and costs of each of those treatments.  A brief description of the three main treatments used is listed below: Mulch:  entails an excavator, which has had its bucket arm replaced with a large mulching head. The driver guides the excavator through a marked block of standing dead pine with instructions to completely grind down 30 to 40% of the trees to the stump, only take the top half off of another 30 to 40% and then leave patches which contain the largest amount of live coniferous preferable species (spruce, Douglas fir).  Planting was difficult in these areas due to large amounts of mulched wood strewn across the forest floor and it the most expensive of the three treatments. Knockdown: consists of a D-8 caterpillar driving through a marked block of standing dead pine with instructions to knockdown 80 to 90% of the trees, again leaving patches which contain the largest amount of live coniferous preferable species.  The planting was relatively straight- forward, with this treatment being the second most expensive. Under-story planting:  this technique involves no site preparation, only fill planting of seedlings on the forest floor of beetle killed stands. The aim is to space the seedling off of healthy regenerating and established mature live coniferous preferable species. This technique is often used on stands which contain a higher ratio of mixed species that the stands which were described above and is the most economical of the three treatment. Four different species were planted in the knockdown and mulch areas; a mix of lodgepole pine, hybrid spruce, Douglas fir and larch.  The silviculture prescription called for the larch to be placed around the edges of the block, the pine, spruce and Douglas fir dispersed throughout the open areas and only spruce and Douglas fir being selected for planting through the retention patches and in the under-story. Regeneration and stocking survey information pertaining to these three treatments, along with the total cost break-down could help in the formation of a targeted, provincial silviculture plan. Other factors that must be taken into consideration when formulating this plan are listed below. 24  2.  Targeted silviculture applications based on: Access Areas that are inaccessible geographically or are inoperable can immediately be excluded from the area that is feasible to replant. Cost The driving factor behind many of the decisions will be the cost of completing the silviculture activities.  It will be important to ascertain the cost of each silviculture technique and categorize the decisions using economics as one of the driving factors.  Many variables can influence the cost of silviculture; from the need for site preparation, to ease of access, difficulty of the planting, the return rate of performing activities on certain areas as opposed to others, and many more exist. Site Index Determining the growth potential of a stand is extremely important when deciding which areas to focus on rehabilitating.  The higher the site index, the greater potential a site has to produce high volumes of growth, often at a faster rate. (Silviculture, 2009/2010)  Thus, without the ability to simply plant all the NSR lands in British Columbia, it would be logical to target the ones with the fastest, highest rate of return. Understory Success Another important variable that must be evaluated is the density, health and species mix that is regenerating in the understory of killed beetle stands (often influenced by crown closure) (Sattler, 2009).  Stands with a higher number of healthy species present can be left to regenerate on their own, while sparsely spaced understories, or high densities of pure pine stands may require further reforestation effort. (Green, 2006) In their discussion paper examining advanced regeneration in mountain pine beetle, Professor Green and forester Griesbaur explain that depending on the species present, the type of silviculture strategy will need to vary.  They point to the fact that understory species such as Douglas fir that may respond better to thinning treatments - allowing them to release, as opposed the planting of more seedling or performing site preparation.  They go on to state “The inherent complexity of advance regeneration (in species abundance or composition, development, health, and degree of release) and the scale of 25  the current mountain pine beetle infestation may significantly diminish the utility of models for predicting stand growth and yield. Rather, forest managers may be forced to make stand-level decisions to identify conditions with sufficient, well-distributed, and healthy advance regeneration…” (Green, 2006)  Fertilization Potential The potential of a stand to take in fertilizer and maximize its use should be another criterion from which to base management decisions on.  “At the forest level, fertilization is one of the most beneficial treatments in terms of both volume production and financial return. This is primarily due to an increase in the amount of volume available for harvest at a time when available harvest is limited, approximately 10 to 50 years in the future.” (Forest for Tomorrow, 2010)  This program could have a large amount of potential for putting a dent in the mid-term timber supply gap as long as it is done carefully and with the correct environmental, fiscal and economic guidelines closely adhered to.  The health of the stand must also be closely examined as fertilization has the potential to exacerbate damaged or diseased stands. (Green, 2006) Hydrology Concerns Obtaining information regarding the state of riparian areas that have been attacked is important due to their significant role in protecting British Columbia‟s water supply, salmon habitat and mitigating flood potential. Areas with damage that is significant enough to harm these indicators should be accounted for and placed on the top of the management plan priorities. Environmental consultants Guy and Ulilia show a summary of the mountain pine beetle below: “Overall, the available research suggests that the effects of mountain pine beetle on forest hydrology may be similar to the effects of forest harvesting. Within even-aged stands the effects include:  increased annual water yield;   increased summer low flow;  variable changes to peak flow magnitude; and  possibly earlier peak flows.” (Guy, 2007)  26  3.  Benefits Mid-term timber supply gap and Long Term Sustainable Yield (LTYS) The government conducted several surveys and came out with the benefits that can be gained from the planting of seedlings and the targeted use of fertilization.  Cumulative volume gains were estimated for 65 years of growth using the following average annual rates per hectare by the Ministry of Forests and their results are listed below:  0.50 cubic meters per year with planting one to three years after logging (relative to satisfactory natural regeneration)  2.93 cubic meters per year with backlog planting (relative to an NSR site, overgrown by competing vegetation)  0.40 cubic meters per year with fertilizing (on healthy forests) (B.C. Ministry of Forests, 2010) These gains across thousands of hectares will amount to a large increase in the growing stock volume in the province and will help to shorten the mid-term timber supply gap, while enabling the province to harvest at a higher level while still staying under the LTSY.  Carbon With the growing concern over rising temperatures and rising levels of carbon dioxide in the earth‟s atmosphere, the planting of trees has become a major solution to combating this crisis. Western Silviculture Contractors Association executive John Betts states; “Climate change and the potential of carbon credits present a unique new opportunity for forestry. Forests provide a natural carbon sink. Managing forests well not only maintains forests as carbon sinks, but can significantly enhance carbon sequestration.” He further elaborates on this point by explaining; “A balanced atmosphere should contain less than 350 million parts per million CO2e and we are already at 380 million parts per million CO2e. Trees sequester CO2. If we stopped all CO2 emissions today, and do not sequester more CO2 than we are at present, then we will still reach 450 million parts per million CO2e by 2030. Grow trees and plant trees, lots and lots of them.”  With the provincial government announcing 27  its policy of “Zero net Deforestation,” the incentive to plant trees under the precedence of sequestering carbon is readily available.  4.  Funding Carbon Credits With the global carbon market reaching values of over $180 billion (Chicago Climate Exchange, 2010) and the province of British Columbia following up on its roundtable recommendation of “…establishing a Carbon Offset Credit program for restoration of forests killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle where credits could be purchased.” (Forests, 2011) there is no time like the present to pursue this lucrative market.  The 2011 British Columbia forestry roundtable follow-up report states that the government is implementing policies to identify suitable areas to encourage investment on mountain pine beetle lands and is doing this through the Forest Carbon Offset Protocol.  Carbon credits can be a valuable tool to support investment in the forest resource. (Forests, 2011) Federal Government The recent federal budget gave the forestry sector 170 million over 2 years, but no specifications were laid out to as how the money needed to be allocated.  To go along with this Minister Flaherty announced a one billion dollar commitment to British Columbia - $100 million over ten years, but with no specific forestry/reforestation related money indicated as illustrated below. However, WSCA has reported that: “…the federal government, which announced a few years ago that it would spend $100 million annually over 10 years on pine beetle-related investments, stopped its annual installments after just two years. Worse yet, much of that money never made it into actual tree-planting programs, but instead was diverted into airport runway expansions in Prince George and highway upgrades” (Parfitt, Western Silviculture Contractors Association, 2010) 28   Figure 8. Government of Canada Response/Stimulus Package/Fiscal Direction (Deboice, 2008) Current government party platforms all have varying degrees of funding that is allocated towards forestry, but it remains to be seen if any of the previously promised funding will be re-instated, or if the recently announced campaign promises will be followed up on. Provincial Government A large road-block hindering the amount of funding provided by the provincial government and one that cannot go overlooked is the province‟s 2002 change in legislation. Before this time, provincial forestry legislation required a Ministry of Forests District Manager, acting on behalf of the Crown, to devise a reforestation plan for forestlands lost to fires or pests and was only waived or ignored if the lands were considered too remote, too small or too inaccessible. (Parfitt, Western Silviculture Contractors Association, 2010)  However, that obligation has been waived with the government changing course and absolving itself of the obligation to reforest these areas.  Perhaps wishing to avoid public scrutiny over this legislation change, forestry journalist Ben Parfitt notes; “The provincial government has said almost nothing about the federal funding withdrawal, perhaps out of a fear that highlighting the federal government's broken promise would call attention to its own lackluster response” (Parfitt, BC Business Online, 2008). 29  The provincial government also came out with an economic plan of their own which is illustrated below.  Figure 9. Government of British Columbia Response/Stimulus Package/Fiscal Direction (Deboice, 2008) Of the $500 million in funding, $161 million has been designated and put towards the government‟s “Forest-For-Tomorrow” program where steps have been made towards alleviating the pressure on the mounting NSR problem and mid-term timber gap.  The program is designed to deal with this shortfall by subsidizing undertaking surveys and initiating the planting of seedlings, many in the understory of dead pine plantations.  The funding schedule is shown below:  2009 - $44 million  2010 - $50 million  2011- $54 million  Average of 17.5 – 20 million seedling/per year (Ministry of Forests and Range, 2009) 30  Table 4. Areas surveyed and planted under the Forests-For-Tomorrow program by fiscal year   The idea behind this program is excellent, but it appears to be falling short of its potential.  As Parfitt explains; “…the public is not getting good value for the money. For the equivalent of what is currently budgeted… up to 75 million additional seedlings could be planted annually, as opposed to the 20 million FFT is shooting for. Too much money is tied up in red tape, including the administration and audit fees”. (Parfitt, Western Silviculture Contractors Association, 2010) If one chooses to accept Britneff's estimate of the amount of net silviculture NSR, this means that; “…since 2005/06, provincially funded reforestation efforts resulted in the planting of just 26 680 hectares of NSR forestlands. In other words, over five years, the province could only manage to plant roughly one per cent of the area of land that this paper conservatively estimates to be economically feasible and desirable to replant.” (Britneff, 2011) Industry/Licences and tenure holders The forest industry went through a period of prosperity in the new millennium, and consequently overspent, especially in 2004 by building new mills.  This has lead to a 30% cut back in money being put towards silviculture in the last year because forest companies cannot afford to pay for any more silviculture.  Much of industry‟s response has been to rely on “professional reliance”, and hope for a lot of natural regeneration in the years to come. (Lawrence, 2010)  However, with the lumber market showing signs of recovery, an increase in investment can most likely be anticipated in the future. 31  Summary It appears obvious, that before any steps can be taken to begin fully tackling the mountain pine beetle NSR crisis, that, as Larry Peterson stressed, a province wide inventory analysis must be fully funded and carried out.  Much of the lack of real action in dealing with the problem seems to be coming from a lack of credible information. Too much time has been wasted arguing over how big the problem really is as opposed to seeing what is really out there and following that up with educated, realistic decisions.  If the scope of a crisis/issue is not understood, how can it ever really be dealt with? A detailed provincial survey of the forest will provide the platform from which all the solution will grow from. Without an accurate analysis of the NSR, only this hit and miss solution to the mountain pine beetle problem will continue to be carried out.  The targeted silviculture applications follow directly from the accurate surveys of NSR.  Once a rational silviculture management plan is formulated, gain the funding to go out and carry the plan out can be pursued. There will be no blanket decision that can be made in terms of silviculture prescriptions, as pointed out by Green and Griesbaur; stand level decisions will need to be made by individual foresters all across the province. And these decisions must be based upon survey results. Therefore, the solution appears to be finding a way to obtain funding – perhaps through new federally promised funds or carbon credits, and putting this money into a large research and inventory provincial forest analysis. With large cuts having been made to the British Columbia Forest Service in the past decade, (Parfitt, BC Business Online, 2008) much of the work may have to contracted out.  Either way, at least then there will be some clarity from which educated decision can be based upon. Conclusion A co-ordinated and cohesive approach from all levels of government along with the forest industry is needed to deal with this dilemma.  However, sales of British Columbia wood are up in China, Japan will be needing lumber for rebuilding and the Carbon Market is continuing to grow.  The economic potential is growing, and with this increasing revenue, the time is now to put money back into resources that will be, and historically has provided such large benefits to 32  the province. With 2012 being the 100 year anniversary of the British Columbia Forest Service, what better a time than to look back on the successes and failures that come with the responsibility of managing the provinces forest industry and decide to take the necessary actions to ensure that our children are afforded the same luxury of having to make difficult decisions to preserve the health and longevity of their vibrant provincial forests.                 33  Bibliography B.C. Ministry of Forests, M. a. (2010). The State of British Columbia’s Forests Third Edition. Victoria, BC: Forest Practices and Investment Branch, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands. Bell, M. P. (2009). Ministry of Forests and Range. Retrieved November 10, 2010, from Minister's speeches and Presentations: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/pab/media/speeches.htm Betts, J. (2010, June 20). WSCA Current Affairs. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from WSCA : http://www.wsca.ca/index.php?Page=225.0&Key=793 Britneff, A. (2011). British Columbia's Unprecedented Reforestation Challenge. Western Silviculture Contractors Association , (p. 3). Kelowna. Brown, R. G. (1995). Public Influence on Reforestation in British Columbia. Victoria, BC: Ministry of Forests. Canada, N. R. (2010). The State of Canada's Forests. Ottawa: Government of Canada - Natural Reasouces Sector. Chicago Climate Exchange. (2010). Retrieved February 12, 2011, from 2011 Chicago Climate Exchange : http://www.chicagoclimatex.com/content.jsf?id=1813 Deboice, R. (2008). Mountain Pine Beetle in British Columbia. Thompson Okanagan Interface Committee (p. 36). Penticton: MOF. Eng, M. (2010). A backgrounder on NSR. Victoria: Forest Practices Board. Forest for Tomorrow. (2010, April). Retrieved November 3, 2010, from Fertilization: http://forestsfortomorrow.com/fft/node/446 Forests, R. -M. (2011). January 2011 Status Update - Implementation of The Working Roundtable on Forestry’s Recommendations. victoria: Ministry of Forests. Green, H. G. (2006). Examining the utility of advance regeneration for reforestation and timber production in unsalvaged stands killed by the mountain pine beetle: Controlling factors and management implications. BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management , 81-92. Guy, L. U. (2007). Towards an Understanding of the Potential Hydrologic Impacts of Mountain Pine Beetle in Interior British Columbia. Vancouver: Summit Environmental Consultants Ltd. Lawrence, J. (2010, February 4). The Vancouver Sun. Restoring ravaged forests . Mcleod, A. (2010, March 22). Retrieved April 14, 2010, from The Tyee: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/BC-Politics/2010/03/22/ZeroNetLogging/ 34  Ministry of Forest, L. a. (2011). British columbia Forest Service History. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from Ministry of Forest, Lands and Mines: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/library/history.htm Ministry of Forests and Range. (2007, October 10). Retrieved November 11, 2010, from State of BC Forests 2006: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/sof/#2010_report Ministry of Forests and Range. (2009, March 15). Retrieved November 11, 2010, from www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/silviculture/statistics/statistics.htm Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. (2010, March). Retrieved February 13, 2011, from Beetle Facts: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/mountain_pine_beetle/facts.htm Parfitt, B. (2008, August 1). BC Business Online. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from bcbusinessonline.ca: http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/bcb/top-stories/2008/08/01/stumped-b-c- reforestation?page=0%2C3&%24Version=0&%24Path=/&%24Domain=.bcbusinessonline.ca Parfitt, B. (2010, January 10). Western Silviculture Contractors Association. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from WSCA.ca: http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/bcb/top- stories/2008/08/01/stumped-b-c- reforestation?page=0%2C3&%24Version=0&%24Path=/&%24Domain=.bcbusinessonline.ca Pederson, L. (2011). What Needs to Change Faster So Forest Professionals Can Grow What the Market Demands Today and in the Future ? ABCFP 2011 AGM Growing for Markets (p. 25). Vancouver: ABCFP. Sattler, D. F. (2009). A Hybrid Model to Estimate Natural Recruitment and Growth in Stands Following Mountain Pine Beetle Disturbacne. Vancouver: University of British Columbia. Silviculture, M. o. (2009/2010). Silviculture, Forest Practices Branch. Retrieved October 12, 2010, from Silviculture Program Statistics, Annual Reports of Silviculture Investments and Accomplishments: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/silviculture/statistics/2009-10.htm The Canadian Press. (2010, March 22). Every cut tree in B.C. to be replaced . The Canadian Press. (2010, March 18). B.C. forests outlook not gloomy: minister , p. 12.     

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