An important indicator of long-term forest productivity and sustainable forest management practices is the area of harvested forest land that is sufficiently regenerated according to a measurable standard. Forests that are regenerated successfully are essential to a long-term sustainable flow of wood products and ecosystem productivity.
What we are doing
Every major licensee (forest management agreement and area-based term supply licence holders) that harvests forest products in the province has a legal obligation to ensure that the licence area has also been renewed.
Regeneration assessments provide assurance that the achievement of the desired forest condition is likely. There are two timeframes when regeneration is assessed:
- Establishment: four to seven years post-harvest; and
- Free-to-grow: eight to 14 years post-harvest.
The area harvested does not always match the area surveyed by year of harvest because of the changing sources of the harvest and survey data. The area harvested is reported by industry within 18 months of the harvest activity being completed. While every effort is made to ensure the data sets are correct at time of reporting, there can be discrepancies. The reporting time period includes harvest years 2004-05 to 2008-09 because this is the most complete data available from industry.
The establishment surveys show that the forest industry is on track to maintain a sustainable forest industry based on the results of the establishment surveys. The amount of area reported as not sufficiently regenerated (NSR) at establishment for the reported time period is five per cent.
Forest companies are required to re-treat any NSR areas that they report, and it is expected that the NSR reported at establishment would be sufficiently regenerated (SR) by the free-to-grow (FTG) survey. It is also expected that if a block is SR at establishment it will continue to be SR at FTG. There are a number of reasons why this may not be the case. A block that was SR at establishment may experience an insect infestation that can cause a plantation failure, a fire may destroy a regenerating area, ungulate browsing can damage recent growth on trees and cause them to be under-height at FTG, and excessive drought or flooding can lead to plantation failure.
The forest regeneration assessment standard applies to blocks harvested after 2004 and the first free-to-grow surveys were completed by industry in 2018. These datasets will be submitted to government for review and audit and presented for this indicator in the future. The blocks that have met the free-to-grow stocking and height requirements at the establishment survey stage (four to seven years post-harvest) are presented above.
Why it matters
Successful regeneration of harvested areas is an important indicator of anticipated long-term forest productivity and sustainable forest management practices.