In a press release from the B.C. government this week, Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations Minister Steve Thomson has announced his intentions to review and act on the recommendations contained in the report, Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia.
“The mountain pine beetle infestation and associated logging has had an impact on wildlife habitat in B.C.’s interior, and we are committed to restoring that habitat,” said Thomson. “At the same time we need to balance the needs of communities and workers that rely on the forest industry for their economic well-being.”
Parliamentary Secretary Mike Morris examined the impact of the pine beetle epidemic, and the associated increase in timber harvesting on wildlife habitat in the province’s Interior.
Over a six month period, Morris met with 24 organizations and had made 18 recommendations in five broad areas:
- Implement a new wildlife management program
- Consolidate authorization planning in resource development
- Develop a landscape-level planning model
- Improve and expand results-based management
- Increase the involvement of wildlife practitioners.
The Province says the majority of the recommendations align with actions already being taken already, and Morris added that he is pleased to see the ministry is considering his advice.
“As a life-long trapper, I’ve seen firsthand how resource development activity can impact wildlife habitat and the intent behind my report is to ensure that more emphasis is placed on protecting wildlife habitat.”
Roughly 37 per cent of the province is is designated under some kind of conservation jurisdiction. Three-quarters of Canada’s mammal species are found B.C., and 24 of those species are exclusive to this province.