UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reforestation under climate change in British Columbia : an institutional assessment Pérez, David Manuel


Reforestation is the most important part of any strategy intended to establish desired future forest conditions, including climate change resilience. Forest managers have a wide range of choices around forest regeneration. They can select among different tree species, genotypes, planting mixes; and silvicultural systems. Over time these choices influence forest composition, structure, and function that then affect the provision of forest values. In British Columbia (BC), climate change has been raised as major issue in terms of its current and projected impacts on forests resources, yet managing to address them remains uncommon. This raises questions about the institutional framework governing management and its influence on the capacity to use reforestation to adapt to climate change. This study describes how climate is changing in BC, adaptations in the forest sector, and the adaptation research efforts to date. It describes the policy environment and associated regulations that direct and guide management on public land in BC and their influence on the ability to use reforestation for climate change adaptation. This includes requirements for reestablishing free growing timber stands, the treatment of silvicultural costs under the stumpage system, and the use of alternative forest stocking standards not found in government guidebooks. Barriers to adaptive management are identified through two surveys of respondents directly involved in reforestation planning and implementation in BC. Important institutional barriers and risks to adaptation are identified as well as incentives and policy alternatives to facilitate it. Perspectives of government managers, licensees, researchers, and practitioners show a common belief that the climate is changing and that the responsibility to future generations for climate vulnerability reduction and forest resilience lies in the present. Nevertheless, differences in perspectives emerge at more operational levels and several factors may constrain the flexibility necessary for the use of adaptive reforestation strategies, especially, aversion to risk, timber supply impacts, stocking standard approval, free growing determination criteria, and silvicultural investment security. While sustainable forest management is the ideal framework for adaptation, it will not occur without policy adjustments to address these barriers and to provide an environment in which forest resilience is a key management objective.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International