B.C.’s forestry watchdog is doing a random audit of work by Husby Forest Products near Collison Point and Eden Lake.
Auditors with the B.C. Forest Practices Board (FPB) arrived for a week on Aug. 22 to make sure Husby’s plans for the two areas follow B.C. forestry laws and the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order.
Tim Ryan, a long-time forester and chair of the FPB, says such audits show the public whether on-the-ground forestry work actually meets the latest standard.
“It’s a good measure,” said Ryan.
“It’s only a snapshot, and the board only does 12 of them through the year — we would like to do more, but that’s all we’ve got resources for.”
One area under review is near Collison Point, which is on the north shore of Masset Inlet across from Kumdis Island. The other is close to Eden Lake, a small lake in the centre of Graham Island that flows into Naden River.
When choosing where to audit, Ryan said the FPB looks for places they have not gone before, and that have active logging or challenging conditions, such as streams or steep slopes.
Auditors will look at everything from Husby’s forestry plans through to its harvesting, road and bridge construction, and reforestation work.
Typically led by a forester or biologist, the auditing team may call in engineers, hydrologists, and other FPB staff experts as needed.
Husby staff will also be invited to follow the auditors, and to comment on the FPB’s draft report.
“We like to have the licensee there right from day one,” said Ryan.
“They can come along on the audit, see what we’re doing, explain what they were trying to do and answer any questions we may have.”
In 2011, Husby joined Taan Forest, BC Timber Sales, and Teal Cedar Products in preparing a collaborative forest stewardship plan for Haida Gwaii.
The stewardship plan, which expires in November, was the first one made since the Haida Nation and B.C. government co-signed the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order in 2010 — an order that sets a legal standard for ecosystem-based forestry on Haida Gwaii.
Along with protections for culturally-significant trees and plants, the order aims to protect fish habitats, streams and habitats for animals such as black bears, marbled murrelets, and northern goshawks.
All audits by the FPB are reported simultaneously to the public and to the B.C. government, and may take anywhere from six months to a year to finish.
In 2006 and again in 2015, the FPB sampled several forest stewardship plans across B.C. and concluded that they generally have several problems, even though they are the only operating plans forestry companies must report publicly and have approved by the provincial government.
In a report last year, the board said companies do better, more detailed planning when they are striving to meet international forestry standards rather than B.C.’s.
The plans have not fostered innovation, said the report, and relying on professional foresters does not necessarily stop companies from neglecting the plans because they are under no obligiation to accept their foresters’ advice.