Glossary

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administrative law
The branch of the law which deals with the actions of government vis-a-vis the public
allowable annual cut (AAC)
the volume of timber approved (every five years) by the Chief Forester to be logged annually. AACs are set for timber supply areas, tree farms and woodlots. (See Forest Act)
alternative silviculture systems
any program of logging, regeneration and stand-tending methods that does not include clearcutting, but includes patch-cut, coppice, seed tree, shelterwood, and selection silviculture systems.
archeological site
a location that contains physical evidence of past human activity and that derives its primary documentary and interpretive information through archaeological research techniques. These resources are generally associated with both the pre-contact and post-contact periods in British Columbia. These resources do not necessarily hold direct associations with living communities.
backlog
a Ministry of Forests term applied to forest land areas where silviculture treatments such as planting and site preparation are overdue. Planting is considered backlog if more than five years have elapsed since a site was cleared (by harvesting or fire) in the interior and more than three years on the coast of British Columbia.
biodiversity (biological diversity)
the diversity of plants, animals and other living organisms in all their forms and levels of organization, including genes, species, ecosystems, and the evolutionary and functional processes that link them.
biogeoclimatic zone
a geographic area having similar patterns of energy flow, vegetation and solid as a result of a broadly homogeneous macro-climate
blue-listed species
species considered to be vulnerable in BC, which are thus of special concern because of characteristics that make them sensitive to human activities or natural events.
botanical forest products
prescribed plants or fungi that occur naturally on Crown forest land. There are seven recognized categories: wild edible mushrooms, floral greenery, medicinal products, fruits and berries, herbs and vegetables, landscaping products and craft products.
buffers
a zone or strip of forest land that separates two areas, usually to protect a sensitive area from the impacts of the adjacent development activities
canopy
the forest cover of branches and foliage formed by tree crowns.
Chief Forester
The assistant deputy minister of the Ministry of Forests who is responsible for determining allowable annual cuts (AACs) and oversees the following department branches: Timber Supply, Forest Practices, Resources Inventory, Research and Forestry Division Services.
clearcut
a silviculture system that removes the entire stand of trees in a single harvesting operation from an area that is one hectare or greater and at least two tree heights in width. A clearcut is designed to be managed as an even-aged stand where only one age class is present.
conservation biology
an application of science centered on biodiversity and the processes that produce and sustain it.
conservation sector
a group of people and organizations concerned with promoting and ensuring careful and considerate resource use, which may mean no human use in some locations or use that enhances rather than depletes resources.
cultural heritage resources
objects, sites, or the locations of a traditional societal practice that is of historical, cultural or archaeological significance to the province, a community or an aboriginal people.
cutblocks
a specific area of land identified on a forest development plan, or in a licence to cut, road permit, or another form of permit, within which timber is to be or has been logged.
eco-certified
endorsement or verification that forest stands are managed (including logging and silviculture) according to ecologically responsible forest use.
eco-forestry
ecologically responsible forestry practices that maintain ecosystem functions and processes, such as single-tree selection logging.
ecological processes
The actions or events that link organisms (including humans) and their environment, such as disturbance, successional development, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, productivity, and decay.
ecological values
desired, healthy biological conditions for fish and wildlife habitat, microorganisms, soil, terrain, landforms, vegetation, water, diverse land base, and biodiversity.
ecosystem restoration
a process of helping to return degraded ecosystems or habitats to original structure and species composition.
fee simple
a legal term in property law, defining the bundle of rights associated with absolute ownership of land, such as the right to dispose of it during one’s lifetime, and to specify in a will how the property will be dealt with upon death of the owner.
floodplain
a level, low-lying area adjacent to streams that is periodically flooded by stream water. It includes lands at the same elevation as areas with evidence of moving water, such as active or inactive flood channels, recent fluvial soils, sediment on the ground surface or in tree bark, rafted debris, and tree scarring.
forest cover
forest stands or cover types consisting of a plant community made up of trees and other woody vegetation, growing more or less closely together.
forest development plans
an operational plan prepared by a licensee or the forest service that shows the location of existing and proposed cutblocks, roads, road developments and deactivation plans, and describes the development plans for a five year period. This is the key forest plan that directs most forestry activities and the only operational plan that allows for public input.
forest health
a forest condition that is naturally resilient to damage; characterized by biodiversity, it contains sustained habitat for timber, fish, wildlife, and humans, and meets present and future resource management objectives
forest inventory
an assessment of forest resources, including digitized maps and a database which describes the location and nature of forest cover (including tree size, age, volume and species composition) as well as a description of other forest values such as soils, vegetation and wildlife features.
forest licence
an agreement granting logging rights and responsibilities under the Forest Act over a portion of a timber supply area. The licence has a term of fifteen to twenty years, generally replaceable every five years (some are non-replaceable) and operating areas that shift over time. Once an area is harvested and reforested the licensee moves to another part of the timber supply area. A forest licence specifies an annual allowable cut, requires a management and working plan, and specified management activities.
Forest Practices Code
the legislation, regulations, and guidebooks that governed forest practices in BC. from 1995 to 2003.
grazing schedule
sets out the class and number of livestock that can use an area described in the schedule, the dates the livestock can use the area and other prescribed information.
green-up height
the minimum height and stocking levels which trees on a cutblock must achieve before an adjacent stand of timber may be harvested. This minimum varies from the standard three metres to heights of up to nine metres or more in watersheds and scenic viewsheds.
harvest rate
the rate at which timber is harvested, commonly expressed as an allowable annual cut (AAC).
higher level plans
refers to an objective for a resource management zone, a landscape unit, a sensitive area, a recreation site or trail, or an interpretive forest site. These plans provide strategic direction to operational planning.
hydrology
the science of water, its properties and movement over and under land surfaces.
identified wildlife
those species at risk that the Deputy Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks or a person authorized by that deputy minister and the chief forester agree will be managed through a higher level plan, wildlife habitat area or general wildlife measure.
impact assessment
a study of the potential future effects of resource development on other resources and on social, economic and/or environmental conditions.
Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP)
a strategic, multi-agency, integrated resource plan at the sub-regional level, based on the principles of required public participation; consideration of all resource values; consensus decision-making; and, resource sustainability.
landscape unit
a planning area delineated on the basis of geographic and/or ecological features such as watersheds. These serve as a focal point for the coordinated management of a broad range of resource values and are central to the management of landscape-level biodiversity and are designated by a district manager.
landscape unit plans
maps, objectives, strategies and indicators designed for the coordination and integration of resource conservation and development activities and to provide for the maintenance of biodiversity through recommended levels of seral stage distribution. These will include ecosystem networks, old growth management areas, visual resource objectives and access management objectives.
legislation
written laws, including both statutes and regulations, that have legal effect.
local resource use plan (LRUP)
a plan approved by the district manager for a portion of the provincial forest that provides area-specific resource management objectives for integrating resource use in the area.
Memorandum of Understanding
an agreement between ministers defining the roles and responsibilities of each ministry in relation to the other or others with respect to an issue over which the ministers have concurrent jurisdiction.
non-timber values
values other than the extraction of timber such as fish and wildlife, culture, spiritual, tourism, recreation, trapping, and water quality.
old growth retention
forest management that maintains old growth or mature seral stages (live and dead trees of various sizes, species, composition and age classes).
Order-in-Council
an order of Cabinet, the executive branch of government.
precautionary principle
the rule that management must be cautious and err on the side of maintaining forest ecosystem values and functions, rather than on the side of timber economics devoted to maintaining fibre flow. This principle recognizes the dynamic nature of ecosystems and humanity’s current limited understanding about the interrelationships between parts of the system and how they function.
range
an open area over which livestock may roam and feed; also, the region throughout which an organism or ecological community naturally lives or occurs.
red-listed species
a species being considered for or already extirpated, endangered or threatened status. Note: threatened species are likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
regional manager
one of six Ministry of Forest managers who are each in charge of a region containing five to eight forest districts and who supervise staff responsible for forest, land and range management activities.
regulation
a law which is passed by the provincial or federal Cabinet, the executive branch of government. Cabinet may only pass regulations where the legislature or parliament has delegated the power to do so through an enactment.
reservations
lands set aside by the federal government for Indian Bands.
reserves
areas of forest land that by law or policy are not available for logging or other types of resource uses.
restoration
ecological restoration is the process of assisting in the healing and rehabilitation of damage done to the diversity and dynamics of natural ecosystem processes and functions.
riparian area
an area of land that is adjacent to a stream, river, wetland or lake and contains vegetation that, due to the presence of water, is distinctly different from the vegetation of adjacent upland areas.
sedimentation
the process of subsidence and deposition by gravity of suspended matter carried in water; usually the result of the reduction of water velocity below the point at which it can transport the material in suspended form.
selective logging
removal of certain trees in a stand as defined by specific criteria (species, diameter at breast height, or height and form). Not to be confused with the selection silvicultural system.
seral stage
Plant community conditions that develop over time during ecological succession from bare ground (or major disturbances) to climax. There are five main stages:
  • early seral stage: the time period from disturbance to crown closure of conifer stands managed under the current forest management regime During this stage grass, herbs, or brush are abundant. It is a period of high diversity, often suitable for a broad group of plants and animals.
  • mid-seral stage: the period in the forest stand life from crown closure to first merchantability; usually ages 15-40 years. Due to stand density, brush, grass, or herbs rapidly decrease in number and diversity. Some hiding cover may be present and species diversity declines towards narrower groups of plants and animals.
  • late-seral stage: the period in the forest stand life from first merchantability to culmination of mean annual increment (MAI). Stand diversity is minimal (but conifer mortality rates will be fairly rapid) and animal forage is minimal.
  • mature seral stage: the period in the forest stand life from culmination of MAI to old-growth stage or to 200 years. This stage features gradually increasing stand diversity; hiding; thermal cover and some forage may be present.
  • old-growth seral stage: the stage in a forest stand where the climax forest and plant community capable of existing on that site occurs. The fate of the stand is determined by the frequency of natural disturbance events. This final stage continues on until stand replacement occurs. This stage is typified by a more even-aged forest structure where there are long periods between natural disturbances.
silviculture prescription
a site-specific operational plan that describes the forest management objectives for an area. It prescribes the method for harvesting the existing forest stand, and a series of silviculture treatments that will be carried out to establish a free growing stand in a manner that accommodates other resource values as identified.
silviculture system
a planned program of treatments throughout the life of the stand to achieve stand structural objectives based on integrated resource management goals. A silvicultural system includes harvesting, regeneration and stand-tending methods or phases. It covers all activities for the entire length of a rotation or cutting cycle. The Forest Practices Code Silvicultural Systems Guidebook identifies six major categories of silvicultural system: five even-aged systems and one uneven-aged system. Even-aged categories include the clearcut, patch-cut, coppice, seed tree and shelterwood systems. Uneven-aged systems are termed selection silvicultural systems.
Small Business Forest Enterprise Program
a program through which the Ministry of Forests sells Crown timber competitively to individuals and corporations who are registered in the program.
social values
the worth to society of aspects or conditions of forest land and its natural attributes, including scenic areas, significant cultural sites, and recreation opportunities.
soil disturbance
disturbance caused by a forest practice on an area covered by a silviculture prescription or stand management prescription including areas occupied by excavated or bladed trails of a temporary nature, areas occupied by corduroyed trails, compacted areas, and areas of dispersed disturbance.
soil erosion
the wearing away of the earth’s surface by water, gravity, wind, and ice.
species at risk
any wildlife or plant species or plant communities that is threatened, endangered, sensitive or vulnerable and requires protection. See Endangered Species page.
stand
a community of trees sufficiently uniform in species composition, age, arrangement and condition to be distinguishable as a group from the forest or other growth in the adjoining area, and thus forming a silviculture or management entity.
Statute
a law passed by the provincial legislature or federal parliament, also referred to as an enactment or Act of the legislature or parliament.
strategic land use planning
planning at the regional, sub-regional and, in some cases, at the local level which results in land allocation and/or resource management direction. Strategic land-use planning at the regional and sub-regional level involves the preparation of resource management zones, objectives and strategies.
stumpage
is the fee that individuals and firms are required to pay to the government when they harvest Crown timber in British Columbia. Stumpage is determined through a complex appraisal of each stand or area of trees that will be harvested for a given timber mark. A stumpage rate (dollars per square metre) is determined and applied to the volume of timber that is cut (square metres). Invoices are then sent to individuals or firms.
tenure
the holding, particularly as to manner or term (i.e.; period of time), of a property. Land tenure may be broadly categorized into private lands, federal lands, and provincial Crown lands. The Forest Act defines a number of forestry tenures by which the cutting of timber and other user rights to provincial Crown land are assigned.
timber licence
area-based tenures which revert to the government when merchantable timber on the area has been harvested and the land reforested. Many of these licences have been incorporated into tree farm licences.
timber supply area
an integrated resource management unit established in accordance with section 6 of the Forest Act. TSAs were originally defined by an established pattern of wood flow from management units to the primary timber-using industries.
tree-farm licence
an agreement in the Forest Act which grants the rights to harvest timber for a 25-year term on a described area of Crown land (sometimes including private land) on a sustained or perpetual yield basis.
visual quality objectives
resource management objectives established by the district manager or contained in a higher level plan that reflects the desired level of visual quality based on the physical characteristics and social values for the area. There are five categories; preservation, retention, partial retention, modification, and maximum modification.
watersheds
areas drained by a particular stream or river; large watersheds may contain several smaller watersheds.
wetland
a swamp, bog, marsh or other similar area that supports natural vegetation that is distinct from adjacent upland areas.
wildcraft
harvesting of non-fibre forest resources, such as mushrooms, berries and ornamental shrubs.
wilderness
a pristine, natural area, usually greater than 1000 hectares, that is free of industrial development and roads and is managed with minimal human intervention so as to be self-regulating.
wildlife habitat areas (WHA)
a mapped area of land that is designated to meet the habitat requirements of one or more species of identified wildlife.