Elmer's English 304 Magazine


British Columbia's
Sustainable Rainforests — A Survey of Issues

by Elmer G. Wiens


Salmon Spawning - British Columbia


Alpine Lake and Forest

Alpine Lake - British Columbia
  • The B.C. Government allocates licences to operators to harvest timber in designated areas of the province.

  • Sustained yield:  forest management with harvesting of timber balanced by growth in a specific forest area.


Mountain Forests

  • Allowable annual cut (A.A.C.):  the regulated yearly harvest prescribed for a forest area under sustained yield criteria, or the annual harvest authorized by a licence over its term.

Mountain Forest - British Columbia


Second Growth Forest

Second Growth Forest - British Columbia
  • Mean annual increment (M.A.I.):  the average annual growth rate in volume of a stand, averaged over its life, measured in cubic feet per metre.

  • Rotation age:  the age at which a forest crop is harvested and replaced by a new stand.

  • Normal forest:  a track of timber with an equal distribution of trees with ages from 0 to the rotation age.


Hanzlik formula

A.A.C  =  volume of timber / rotation age + M.A.I

A.A.C. = allowable annual cut;    M.A.I. = mean annual increment in wood volume

On a Clear Day - British Columbia


Logging Road Bridge

Logging Road Bridge - British Columbia
  • Stumpage:  the price licensees pay to the Government for timber they harvest from Crown land. The Forest Service calculates stumpage as a residual. It is the amount remaining after the estimated costs of manufacturing products (including taxes) are deducted from the market value of the products obtained from the timber stand.


Planning Over The Long Run

  • The Long Term Harvest Level is the Ministry of Forests’ estimate of the annual rate of growth of managed second-growth forests after old-growth forests are liquidated.

Molly's Reach, Gibson's Landing - British Columbia


Erosion of River Banks

  • Clear-cut logging is the dominant method of harvesting trees in British Columbia. A clearcut is where the entire forest cover is logged.

  • Overcutting refers to the volume cut, or logging too much. The overcut is the difference between the Long Term Harvest Level and the Allowable Annual Cut.

River Erosion - British Columbia


Building Log Homes

  • BC does not maximize the potential value-added in the forest industry.

  • BC adds only $119 in value per cubic metre of wood compared with $318 per cubic meter in the United States.

Canadian Walden Log Homes - British Columbia


Timber Production

Maples and Conifers - British Columbia

Production by species:

  — hemlock (20%)

  — spruce (22%)

  — lodgepole pine(16%)

  — Douglas fir (14%)

  — cedar (12%)

— true firs (13%)


First Nations Village

First Nations Village - British Columbia
  • Kispiox, Gitanyow, Gitwangak, Glen Vowell, Gitanmaax, Hagwielget and Gitseguecla are villages of the people of the First Nations. They have lived along the Skeena River Valley for thousands of years.

  • Logging and tourism are major industries along the Skeena River Valley.


Forest Practices Code

  • Regulations that control rates of harvesting, utilization and forest practices.

  • Protection for wild life and soils, and riparian buffers that protect habitat along waterways.

  • Improved standards of road construction, logging, and silviculture practices.

Mountain Valley - British Columbia


Coast Forest Industry

Pacific Ocean Coast - British Columbia
  • Vast coniferous forests stretch from Alaska to Vancouver between the Cascade Mountains and the Coast, and on Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island, and offshore islands.

  • The coastal logging industry, employing 11,500 people, provides the economic base for coastal communities.


Vancouver Island’s West Coast

  • First Nations’ culture and livelihood depends on coast forests.

  • Coast forests provide spawning grounds for salmon and homes for wild life.

  • The forest industry’s objectives conflict with these other uses for coast forests.

West Coast of Vancouver Island - British Columbia


Eco-system Management

  • The David Suzuki Foundation believes that environmentally friendly forest practices, based on eco-system management, are the only responsible direction for forestry in the future.

Mountain Stream - British Columbia


Manufacturing Forest Products

  • Manufacturing of coast timber is concentrated along the Fraser River, the Lower Mainland, and Eastern Vancouver Island.

  • Large sawmills process 60% of the coast timber supply into lumber and wood chips.

  • Ten percent of the coast timber is exported as logs.

  • Pulp mill chippers, chip mills, veneer mills, and shake and shingle mills account for the remainder of the coast timber.

Tugboat towing log boom in the Fraser River  - British Columbia


British Columbia's Forest Act

Vancouver Island Water Fall - British Columbia
  • The Chief Forester is legally required to guarantee lumber and pulp mills a steady timber supply, despite the ecological or cultural consequences.

  • The David Suzuki Foundation believes that the Chief Forester’s primary duty should be to ensure that the province's forests are not overcut and that ecological integrity is maintained.


Sustainable Employment?

David Suzuki Employment Graphs  - British Columbia


Sustainable Rainforests?

  • Following the last ice age, the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest emerged under “unique climate conditions” into a complex diversity of life anchored by coniferous trees. If these trees are logged, it is unknown whether these “extraordinarily complex ecosystems” will regenerate, even with modern silviculture.

  • Davis, Wade. The Clouded Leopard: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998: 207-24.

Rose Point Haida Gwaii - British Columbia


First Nations' Land Claims?

Helping Hands of Volunteers
  • First Nations' claims to land in B.C. remain unresolved.

  • Courts have avoided defining Aboriginal rights.

  • The Canadian Constitution affirms Aboriginal and treaty rights.

  • Artwork: Sean Wanukw


Works Cited and Consulted

  • Braun, Bruce. The Intemperate Rainforest: Nature, Culture, and Power on Canada’s West Coast. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 2002.

  • Davis, Wade. The Clouded Leopard: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998: 207-24.

  • Pearse, Peter H. Timber Rights and Forest Policy in British Columbia. Victoria: Government of British Columbia, 1976.

  • Pearse, Peter H. Ready for Change: Crises and Opportunity in the Coast Forest Industry. Vancouver: Ministry of Forests, 2001.

  • David Suzuki Foundation Website. 15 Feb 2006



Copyright © Elmer G. Wiens:   EgwaldTM Web Services  

  All Rights Reserved. Direct comments to