Government not privatizing forests

Re: “Join the fight to save B.C.’s public forests,” May 22.

I would like to correct some assertions made in the commentary.

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This government is not interested in privatizing B.C.’s public forests. We remain committed to managing our forests sustainably now and into the future. B.C. is recognized as a world leader of sustainable forest management — more than 52 million hectares are certified to one of three internationally recognized sustainable-forest-management certification standards.

B.C. is also unique in having an independent Forest Practices Board specifically set up to monitor and audit forest practices and investigate complaints. It also recommends areas for improvement, which government and forest licensees act on.

Our forests are not being overcut. The chief forester independently sets maximum harvest limits for 72 distinct areas following a comprehensive timber supply review that considers social, economic and environmental values.

Government is looking at the option of converting some volume-based forest licences to new or expanded area-based tree farm licences. I also want to reiterate that area-based tenures do not convey additional property rights to the tenure holder. All Crown land will remain Crown land.

I encourage people to download the discussion paper from engage.gov.bc.ca/foresttenures and provide their thoughts by noon on May 30.

Steve Thomson

Minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations

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