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Report calls for BC tenure reform, other changes

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Report calls for BC tenure reform, other changes
BC Forests in CrisisA report prepared by the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, with contributions from residents of forest-dependent communities, finds that British Columbia forests are in crisis due to a decade of government deregulation and disinvestment.


May 20, 2011
By BC Government and Service Employees’ Union
 BC Forests in Crisis  

May 19, 2011, Burnaby, BC – A report
prepared by the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), with
contributions from residents of forest-dependent communities, finds that
British Columbia forests are in crisis due to a decade of government
deregulation and disinvestment, including deep cuts to the BC Forest Service.
Input for the report, B.C. Forests in Crisis: a Community Call for Reform, was collected at a series of community dialogues conducted by the
BCGEU in early 2011 in Castlegar, Campbell River, Kamloops, and Prince George,
British Columbia. The community dialogues gave the BCGEU the chance to engage
with community leaders to get a grasp of the key issues and problems facing
forest-dependent communities and to hear possible solutions.

“Participants at our community dialogues
sounded the alarm bells about forest management. They told us they’re finding
it hard to reconcile the government's sunny forest industry rhetoric with their
experiences as they live with government neglect of the forest sector,” says
BCGEU president Darryl Walker. He says that similar issues were raised at each
of the four community dialogues. “Participants told us the government has
failed to manage the forests in the best interests of the public. They also
want forest management overhauled,” he says.

The report makes four general
recommendations.

  • Strengthen public oversight and
    accountability: Establish a public commission of inquiry to provide an
    independent assessment of British Columbia’s forest sector and the
    effectiveness of its current laws and practices.
  • Recommit to good forest stewardship:
    Restore staff and funding to B.C.'s Forest Service, and provide enhanced
    funding for key programs including compliance and enforcement, forest
    inventory, research, and reforestation.
  • Reconnect communities with their forests:
    Review and reform the forest tenure system to provide more local participation
    in managing local forestlands and ensure communities benefit from local
    resources.
  • Take real action to generate more value
    from forests: Implement strategies to support greater diversification and more
    value-added enterprises in the forest sector, including tightening restrictions
    on raw log exports.

Download the report: www.bcgeu.ca/sites/default/files/BC_Forests_In_Crisis_report_lo.pdf.

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