VICTORIA – An investigation by The B.C. Forest Practices Board of a complaint about logging near Mt. Elphinstone Park has found that B.C. Timber Sales met all of its obligations in developing the cutblocks. However, the report concludes that some at-risk plant communities are not adequately protected by current legislation or policy.
The complaint was submitted by Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF), an environmental group located in Roberts Creek, B.C. The group was concerned that logging would remove forest stands containing at-risk plant communities and threaten the representation of those plant communities in the area.
The forest Practices Board investigation confirmed that representative examples of the western hemlock-flat moss plant community and the western red cedar-sword fern plant community were present in the two cutblocks that were logged. However, B.C.’s current forest practices legislation does not require protection of these plant communities from logging, even though they are recognized as at-risk by the B.C. Conservation Data Centre.
The report includes recommendations to the provincial government to update the list of species at risk that can be protected from logging activities and for B.C. Timber Sales to take steps to improve the conservation of at-risk plant communities when planning for logging in mature forest stands.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board investigates public complaints about forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.