The Province of BC is reviewing the Private Managed Forest Land and will examine how well the Private Managed Forest Land (PMFL) Program is meeting its goals to encourage private landowners to manage their lands for long-term forest production, and encourage sustainable forest management practices, including the protection of key public environmental values.
This review is part of the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative announced in January 2019, which includes “restoring public confidence through … auditing the private forest land regime”.
Much of the forest land surrounding the Village of Cumberland is classified as private managed forest land. View the map of Private Managed Forest Land on Vancouver Island.
Public Submissions to Program Review
The public has an opportunity to give comment by July 9, 2019 by completing an online survey or by making a formal submission. Cumberland Council will be making a formal submission, which will comment on regulation of harvesting in watersheds and riparian areas, operational practices and climate change, replanting schemes, exit fee time frames, the role of the PMFL Council, and increased oversight from the Province of BC especially in regard to operations in watersheds.
The online survey addresses the following review topics:
- Program goals
- Management Objectives for Public Environmental Values
- Regulatory Framework for Environmental Values
- Incentives for Participation in program
- Disincentives for Exit from the Program
About the BC Private Managed Forest Land Program
The online survey provides the following background information on the PMFL review topics:
1. Program Goals
The broad goals for the Private Managed Forest Land Program are to:
- encourage private landowners to manage their lands for long-term forest production; and
- encourage sustainable forest management practices, including protecting key public environmental values.
2. Public Environmental Values and Management Objectives
The Private Managed Forest Land Act establishes the management objectives for the following key public environmental values:
- soil conservation
- critical wildlife habitat
- fish habitat
- drinking water quality
These requirements are in addition to laws that apply to all private landowners such as those within the Water Sustainability Act, Drinking Water Protection Act, Environmental Management Act, Wildlife Act, Wildfire Act, Assessment Act, and the federal Fisheries Act, Migratory Birds Act, and Species at Risk Act.
3. Regulatory Framework for Environmental Values
The regulatory framework includes the legislation, regulation, policies and processes which govern how the Managed Forest Council will administer and enforce the requirements of the Private Managed Forest Land Act and Program. The regulatory framework is intended to support achievement of the management objectives for the key environmental values in the Private Managed Forest Land Act.
4. Incentives for Participation in program
About 50% of forested private land is classified as managed forest land by the BC Assessment Authority. Most managed forest land is subject to regulatory oversight under the Private Managed Forest Land Program. The remaining portion is managed within provincial forest tenures such as a tree farm licence, woodlot licence or community forest agreement.
Forested private land that is not managed forest land – over 2 million hectares – is not subject to special forestry-related regulatory oversight, other than laws and bylaws that apply to all private landowners.
A key objective of the government is for private landowners to participate in the provincial forest sector through the managed forest land classification because it requires responsible forest management practices and encourages the long-term maintenance of forest cover on private lands. The main benefits to landowners for their participation in the program are the opportunity for lower assessed property values and the right to conduct forestry activities on their land, including harvesting tree
5. Disincentives for Exit from the Program
Current legislation requires that an exit fee must be paid if managed forest land is withdrawn from the program prior to a 15 year timeframe. It is calculated based on the difference between actual property taxes paid, and what the property taxes would have been had the property not been assessed as managed forest land (for example residential class), with a discount related to the number of years it has been in the managed forest land class. Owners of land that has been assessed as managed forest land for 16 years or more do not pay an exit fee if they chose to remove their land from the program.
The Private Managed Forest Land Act does not require a landowner to contact adjacent landowners or the related municipalities or regional districts regarding planned forestry activities. However, many landowners in the program have developed strategies to ensure that they communicate their intentions with neighbours and local government.
In the event that issues or concerns with forestry activities on private managed forest land arise, the Managed Forest Council encourages parties to work directly together to resolve any issues. The Managed Forest Council can initiate contact with a landowner and conduct formal onsite investigations if deemed necessary.Search again