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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sustainable forestry and woodlot licences in BC Brown, Larianna

Abstract

Currently the vast majority of Crown forestland in BC is managed by large private forest corporations who hold industrial tenures. Concerns over the long term ecological and social implications of forest management have generated increased support for small scale forestry such as woodlot licences: Woodlots are the smallest tenure available in the province, typically held by individuals, families, small corporations, and First Nations. While many practitioners, academics, and environmentalists assert that small landholder forest operations offer a comprehensive approach to forest management, there is a gap between the supposed benefits of small scale forestry and empirical conclusive evidence. The aim of this thesis is to fill this gap. Efforts made by woodlot licence holders to implement sustainable forest management are examined. In addition challenges experienced by licencees in their attempts at sustainable forestry initiatives are analyzed. All woodlot licence holders in the province were surveyed via a mail out questionnaire. 211 of the 813 licencees answered the survey. The according response rate of 25.9 % is considered acceptable to make inferences about woodlots across the province. Results indicate that the average woodlot operator undertakes a number of voluntary measures that often surpass provincial requirements intended to institute more ecologically sound and socially responsible forestry. The indicators of sustainable forest management woodlot operators fall short of meeting are recognizing and consulting First Nations regarding their rights to traditional lands and resources, and managing and marketing diverse forest products. Licence holders identified administrative and operating costs imposed by current provincial regulations, as the most significant barrier undermining voluntary sustainable forestry practices. A number of recommendations to address identified barriers were proposed by licencees. The most common proposal was the provincial adoption of cost saving incentive driven administrative requirements that reward operators applying sustainable measures of forest stewardship. The findings of this research suggest that if appropriate revisions are made to woodlot regulations, the expansion of the Woodlot Licence Program will encourage more sustainable forest management of Crown land throughout the province.

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