Our caretaking responsibilities are broad and complex – like the forests themselves – and include wildlife habitat, rare ecosystems, sequestering carbon, flood control, big tree retention, natural beauty and reforestation.
We employ more than one hundred licensed forest professionals and biologists, across a broad spectrum of professional forestry practice, including: reforestation, wildfire prevention and management, pest protection, habitat supply management, forest inventory, road and harvest design and watershed protection. Our professionals, who are from a diverse range of practices and backgrounds, help guide our forest planning and practices. They adhere to the codes of ethics and standards of professional practice of their associations, such as the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP).
In addition, we often retain independent geomorphologists, terrain specialists, hydrologists, wildlife biologists, fisheries biologists, forest ecologists, botanists and other specialists to help design forest management activities.
Forest Management is guided by multiple layers of planning at the regional, landscape, management unit and stand levels.
LUPs were developed to provide high level land use zoning. These plans grew from an exhaustive public process and identify zones with various resource priorities such as protected areas, biodiversity, recreation or timber. Many of Western’s timberlands are within the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan. On the Central Coast, ecosystem-based management (EBM) grew out of the Central Coast Land and Resource Management Plan (CCLRMP).
We develop a Management Plan for each TFL at minimum every ten years. The MP outlines how we manage the forest and includes the data and modeling analysis to support timber supply review and a determination by British Columbia’s Chief Forester of the sustainable allowable annual cut (AAC) of timber for the next five to ten years. This determination considers all forest resources, the expected net growth rate of the forest, the history of management and typically requires that the analysis provide for non-timber values first, before projecting a long term sustainable harvest level from the remaining forest land.
FSPs work in tandem with the legislated practice requirements of the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation (FPPR) and provide the operational direction or “results and strategies” for designing and implementing timber harvesting. FSPs must be consistent with the higher level land use objectives set by the overarching land use plan and with the ten FPPR objectives for forest land (soil, timber, wildlife, riparian, fish, water, wildlife, biodiversity, scenery, and cultural).
SPs are specific to each road development or timber harvesting site. A SP provides local details such as the ecological site classification, soil sensitivity to machine traffic, stream descriptions, and reforestation prescriptions. ASPs provide specific instructions for all aspects of operations: tree fallers, road construction crews, yarding crews, log loaders and haulers, road deactivation and rehabilitation crews, and the silviculture crews. The SP is designed to ensure that forest practices meet stringent standards and that government objectives are achieved. Forest professionals carry out monitoring to confirm expectations are achieved, and to modify practices and prescriptions where improvement is possible.