Public pressure about environmental, social and economic concerns have helped shape the forest industry to allow more public input into land-use planning and decisions.

In the past, many forest companies were driven only by economic concerns: how to get the most timber out of the forest at the least possible cost. Public concerns about the environment and the health of local communities were sometimes ignored. Today, the forest industry in British Columbia operates under much stricter guidelines. There is greater opportunity for the public to participate in land-use decisions about forests.

In B.C., 95% of the land is owned by its citizens. Forested public land is managed by the provincial government using the rules and guidance of the “Forest and Range Practices Act” (FRPA). This act tries to ensure that citizens are directly involved with land-use planning decisions.

If a forest company wants to log on forested public land near you, the land-use process in B.C. requires that first that company must devise a forest stewardship plan, before the government will approve harvest levels. A forest stewardship plan must consider not only t Read More
Public pressure about environmental, social and economic concerns have helped shape the forest industry to allow more public input into land-use planning and decisions.

In the past, many forest companies were driven only by economic concerns: how to get the most timber out of the forest at the least possible cost. Public concerns about the environment and the health of local communities were sometimes ignored. Today, the forest industry in British Columbia operates under much stricter guidelines. There is greater opportunity for the public to participate in land-use decisions about forests.

In B.C., 95% of the land is owned by its citizens. Forested public land is managed by the provincial government using the rules and guidance of the “Forest and Range Practices Act” (FRPA). This act tries to ensure that citizens are directly involved with land-use planning decisions.

If a forest company wants to log on forested public land near you, the land-use process in B.C. requires that first that company must devise a forest stewardship plan, before the government will approve harvest levels. A forest stewardship plan must consider not only the company’s needs, but also the needs of the environment, the local community and economy.

The stewardship plan must then be shared with individual citizens, organized groups, various levels of government, including First Nations, and all stakeholders, (those individuals or groups who are impacted by the proposed land use). They all have the opportunity to add their voices to the debate.

Although, the FRPA aims to increase opportunities for public input, as with all government regulations, there are diverse opinions as to the effectiveness of the measures that have existed historically and in the present day.

In any community, the logging of trees changes the landscape, raising concerns about the natural environment. Maintaining habitat for local wildlife and protecting clean-flowing water in streams, lakes and rivers for fish, animals and people is important. Logging operations also affect local economies that may be tied to the logging and mill industries, or tourism. The question of how to manage the forests while leaving trees for future generations is complex. It requires the input of all British Columbians.

© 2006, British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

After using this object students will be able to:
- relate public involvement to land-use planning decisions

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans