This Government of British Columbia document was obtained by the Sierra Legal Defense Fund through a Freedom of Information request.|
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
Date: April 24, 1997
File #’s: 97-23
Issue: Joint MELP/MOF Ministers’ Briefing - Greenpeace Report, Broken Promises
Background/Facts:This briefing note was requested by Jennifer Smyth and Veronica Barlee, and is required for ministry response to Greenpeace’s April 21st press conference and international release of the above report. Timing considerations include urgency of government response and joint ministers’ press conference, April 24th.
Greenpeace’s report was prepared based largely on or interpreted from government and forest industry data, including from Freedom of Information requests. Greenpeace’s primary focus is on the temperate coastal rainforest.
Discussion/Analysis:It would be difficult to attempt to discredit the report because of the source of much of the data upon which it is based. There are some errors and some areas of differences of interpretation. A more detailed MELP analysis of the report’s points in areas of particular interest to this ministry and its mandate is attached. These areas include: streams and riparian areas; biodiversity; endangered species and wildlife; rate of cut; and protected areas.
Greenpeace points to promises and expectations within government forestry-related initiatives that have not been implemented. However, implementation of the Forest Practices Code is still underway, and the Code itself does not come into full compliance until June 15, 1997. MELP regards the Code as providing a sound framework for ecosystem management. The Code, however, does depend on good understanding, consistent interpretation, training, and implementation. MELP and MOF technical staff are working cooperatively toward implenting Code biodiversity and identified wildlife provisions, establish landscape units and old growth management areas, and other areas referred to in the report.
Implementation of new initiatives like the Forest Practices Code is a complex process. Recent staffing and resource cuts will mean delays as fewer staff are expected to implement the Code, carry out Land and Resource Management Planning, work on Timber Supply Reviews, develop policy and procedures for all the initiatives, and carry out basic wildlife and fisheries research and inventory. Implementation cannot be expected immediately given available staffing and resources.
One area of implementation in particular relates to the Midcoast. Greenpeace has targeted the Midcoast temperate rainforest for their next major campaign. This area is subject to land use planning now under a recently initiated Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP). Study areas have been identified for consideration for protected areas. MELP participation and input into essential background technical analysis is at risk owing to current funding and travel constraints.
A majority of Greenpeace’s concerns about conservation in temperate rainforests of British Columbia would be addressed once the Forest Practices Code is fully implemented and the Protected Areas system completed for these areas.
Environment and Lands Regions Division
Nancy Wilkin, Director
Operational Support Branch
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