The Forest and Range Practices Act and regulations provide for a results-based forest practices framework in British Columbia. Under this approach to forest management, the forest industry is responsible for developing results and strategies, or using specified defaults, for the sustainable management of resources. The role of government is to ensure compliance with established results and strategies and other practice requirements, and to evaluate the effectiveness of forest and range practices in achieving management objectives, including sustainable resource management.
Please visit the Forest and Range Evaluation Program (FREP) website where you will find information on the FREP Program, from developing indicators and protocols to collecting, analyzing and reporting out results.
Grizzly Bear Monitoring
A study of grizzly bears on British Columbia's southern Coast Ranges was initiated in 2004, and large-scale DNA sampling and radio-collaring was conducted. Prior to this, little was known of grizzly bear density, distribution, and population connectivity in this area. This knowledge gap was of concern given the wide range of land resource demands, particularly in and around the Sea to Sky Planning Area where there is potential for excessive cumulative impacts resulting from the area's growing recreational popularity, associated development trends, and its accessibility from the nearby Lower Mainland. Grizzly bears in the Lower Mainland are considered threatened in 4 of the 5 identified population units. Grizzly bears are an Identified Wildlife Species under FRPA, and habitat protection is one of the key tools for the recovery of grizzly bears in the southern Coast Ranges. Threats to grizzly bear habitat include forestry and power projects, and the associated road access and infrastructure (cumulative effects). Data from this study has been successful in identifying and establishing Wildlife Habitat Areas, which are essential in grizzly bear recovery. The objectives of this study are:
- Systematically sample grizzly bear occurrence over a defined study area using hair-snag techniques and DNA analysis for species and individual identification.
- Apply mark-recapture methods to estimate grizzly bear population density within the survey areas.
- Empirically model population density, distribution and connectivity relative to landscape factors of habitat and human influence. This will form the basis for (a) identifying population core and linkage landscapes, and (b) understanding the factors that determine them.
- Given an adequate sample size, evaluate the influence of habitat conditions and human activity on grizzly bear gene flow at broad, landscape scales.
Ultimately, this study will help to ensure that the provisions of the provincial Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy are met in the southern Coast Ranges of BC. This includes grizzly bear objectives specific to both the Lillooet and Sea to Sky LRMPs, as they progress toward government consultation with First Nations and into implementation.
For more information, please contact Steve Rochetta at Steve.Rochetta@gov.bc.ca.
Ungulate Winter Range Effectiveness Monitoring
Maintaining healthy populations of ungulates contribute to both maintaining biodiversity, and hunting and viewing opportunities. Ungulate winter ranges are an important component of the ecosystem, and provide the life requisites for the over winter survival of ungulates. British Columbia's Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), provides formal legal establishment of ungulate winter ranges (UWRs). This legal protection began under the previous Forest Practices Code, which was immediately prior to the FRPA. Once legally established, it is important to evaluate how effective these UWRs are in providing the life requisites for a particular ungulate during the winter months.
Effectiveness monitoring has been initiated for mountain goats in Region 2, and a pilot study has been performed for black-tailed deer in the Chilliwack Forest District. Mountain goats are highly susceptible to human disturbance, and this can inhibit the effectiveness of the winter range (i.e., the ability of this range to maintain goats). Winter range occupancy and stress levels in goats in relation to human disturbances will be examined as part of this effectiveness monitoring. Winter ranges for deer in the Chilliwack Forest District has not been legally designated (as of December 2008), though a pilot study was performed in order to evaluate techniques for future monitoring.
For more information on the effectiveness monitoring, please contact Cliff Nietvelt at Cliff.Nietvelt@gov.bc.ca or Greg George at Greg.George@gov.bc.ca.