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Sustainability and Forest Governance in British Columbia


Discuss about the Comparison of Forest Policy of British Columbia and Ontario.

British Columbia is considered to be on the Western Canada, located in the border of Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most biologically and ecologically diverse province in Canada. The forest in the province compose 91% of softwood thereby providing BC almost half of softwood industry of Canada. The forest governance in BC encompasses about 95% of 55 million hectares of diverse forests which are publicly owned and prioritised for resource management planning. The foundation of sustainable forest management in BC is considered for timber supply which is reviewed through independent chief forester for determining the quantity of wood which may be harvested from the individual province of 70 management units[1].

The forest laws and policies of Ontario are directed for sustainable management and usage of crown forests. This regulation is able to ensure that the forests remain healthy and provide the adequate benefits to “present and future generations”. The forest sustainability act is able to outline the way forest management planning, licenses, resources and revenue collection are maintained. In addition to this, Crown Forest Sustainability Act includes information management, forest operations, compliance, remedies and enforcement mechanisms. The report aims to show the difference between the forest policy of British Columbia and Ontario. Some of the main comparison areas of the report is included with the complexity of the reporting and state the major differences and public participation[2].

The main reason for the complexity for British Columbia is due to the political stripe of the government. Despite of the growth and “sophistication of the forestry, bureaucracy and capitalists”, forest industry was able to assert their “short-term private economic priorities” over the longer-term resources management goals of the professional foresters. During the early stages of forest industry of BC’s, forest industry development was discerned with very limited political or economic scope for the advancement in the forestry pertaining to “people’s share”, which is allegedly a highly competitive and unstable enterprise[3].

In the starting of the twentieth century, BC was considered as one of the last timber frontiers in North America. Much of the timber was in private hands which got alienated with the railway land grants and the early crown giants. The timberlands were able to return small amount of annual revenue to the government which has kept the industry well supplied. To capture large amount of revenue of timber, the government had to adopt policy of allocating millions of acres for future cutting at low rental charges for this purpose. Some of the other complexities were evident with licenses changing hands more than once at a price approaching real market value of the timber, thereby ending up in the possession of large American timber holding firms. The important concern for the stability of tenure of more than fifteen thousand cutting licenses placed in private hands by 1907[4].

Forest Law and Policies in Ontario

Ontario has recognised the process of climate change as a challenge requiring government action. The climate change strategy is committed to contributing to the global greenhouse gas emission reductions by the preparation of changing climate policy and continuing with the research to help assisting for the same and its implications on the environment. The existence of ecologically functional growth is considered to be an “indicator of healthy forest ecosystem” and its importance for the wellbeing of future generations[5].

A composite forest stand structure such as planting old trees for the ecosite, large trees along with “wide spacing” and “multiple canopy layers” and rates of the changes in the species composition is considered to be difficult. It is also difficult to understand the ecosystem functions such as “stand productivity, nutrient cycling and wildlife habitat” which are considered to be dissimilar from the early stages of the forest development. In addition to this, the presence of variability among the living organism from different foundations including the “inter alia terrestrial, marine and aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexities which are discerned to bring diversity among the   species in the ecosystems”. The condition of the of forest ecosystem is also discerned as one of the main complexity of providing the required needs to the people of Ontario. This includes changing rate of composition of the species and forest stand structure. The “sub-divided units of ecoregions” are based on the subregions landform pattern, physical geography, climate trends and complexity of the landscape[6].

The aforementioned nature of the changing landscape pattern is affecting the various types of the policies which are seen to be related to the adaptation of the same for Ontario forest policy. The condition of the forest ecosystem is based on the several complexities which are associated in providing the needs of the people. The complexity of the forest department is discerned in terms for the various types of types of the measures which is directly related to the sustainability issues which is defined as per the “long term Crown forest health [which is] the condition of a forest ecosystem which sustains the ecosystem’s complexity while providing for the needs of the people of Ontario”. The functional conditions are mainly seen to be affected by old growth functional conditions which is associated with complex forest stand structure. For instance, old trees and wide spacing relies on complex structuring system which are often viewed to cause trouble to the overall composition of the species. Henceforth, setting the standards for these species is often viewed as a major problem[7].

Comparison of Forest Policies in British Columbia and Ontario

The Ontario Forestry policies is dedicated for managing the forests in a manner which secures the feasibility in the long-term of the business and enhances the shareholder value thereby maintaining the environmental planning. The forest policy is committed to meet the requirement for the applicable environmental and social laws which is able to regulate the requirements for Resolution the Forest Products including pollution prevention. The policy enforcement is not related to prevent purchase of wood from illegal sources. This further aims to develop supportable forest management policies which takes into account the “timber and non-timber” values for ensuring the conservation of the “biological diversity” aimed at sound scientific principles. The active engagement of the first nations communities is seen with the goal to have a positive working relationship[8].

The policy considers active engagement of the “first nations communities” with the goal of maintaining an optimistic working relations and active involvement of forest stakeholders for the expansion and application of forest management plans. The policies seek support from the native contractors and local workers. There has been a significant encouragement of the contractor’s “non-resident forest workers” to stay in “local communities” at the time of working on the forests. In addition to this, they don’t value for procurement of local goods and services. Some of the other commitments to the policy is considered with providing appropriate training to the employees of the company and contractors engaged in operations associated to forestry and producing wood fibre for the mills[9]. At times the worker supports the encouragement of research and development which progresses with “understanding of forest science”, climate change, “management practices and sustainable forest management”. The policies of forest certification in all the phases includes provisions for prompt reforestation, maintenance of soil productivity of forest, production of water quality, riparian zones and water bodies. In addition to this, the forest certifications also aim to ensure efficient use of forest resources thereby protecting the special sites[10].

Some of the other important consideration for forest policy includes monitoring, measuring and good assessment of the performance for openly available, “third-party processes of auditing and management” to improve the overall operations. The forest certification ensures risk management practices among the external fibre “suppliers including private woodlot owners”.

The forest policy maintained in British Columbia had been through several international scrutinies from US, transnational environmental group and European environmental group which was able to protect and preserve the undistinguished ecological characteristics. Comparison of the British Columbia forest policy with forest policy in Ontario clearly shows that, British Columbia has a more stringent regulation in compare to the later[11]. The policy adopted by BC mainly focused on riparian zone management, clearcutting and maintenance of protected areas. The overall analysis was able to depict that British Columbia’s environmental forestry rules had a tendency of being lax than government harvesting in United States. The exploration of this claim was for the nursing to be important due to the assertions of bolster efforts. Several reviews have been able to review that BC’s strategy of clearcutting, riparian zones, and protected sections were either following stringent or a more comparable approach by five soft food harvesting states. The important empirical evidence of a study is able to depict that the clearcutting and riparian rules by the government are more stringent in British Columbia than in any other jurisdiction[12].

Public Participation and Political Practice

The main depictions have further revealed that the review does not address on the unique environment qualities of British Columbia forest department which has made its forest resource management efficient in nature[13]. The individuals wishing to preserve the voters remaining intact with ancient forests needs for British Columbia however, these types of revelations were not observed in forest policy in Ontario[14]. The research believed that, on moving toward mutual understanding and sustainable forest management, it needs to be depicted that Canada and the United States will be doing better in terms of developing binational North American forestry commission which should be able to become the centre for binational collaborative research program[15].

The public participation is considered as the political principle or the practice which is associated to the concept of stakeholder engagement. The general public participation aims to seek involvement from the individuals who are potentially affected by the interests in decisions. The “Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)” seeks to recognise the “work of the members” who have been appointed for the “Old Growth Forests Policy Advisory Committee and the scientific advisory committee”. The old growth policy is prepared in terms of the responses to the final report which is seen to be associated to “the Old Growth Forests Policy Advisory Committee and the scientific advisory committee”. MNR desires to recognizes “Norm Iles from Colin Hewitt and Domtar Inc. from Abitibi-Consolidated Company of Canada” who were seen to participate in the testing methodology of the forest management planning process. In addition to this, the aboriginal stakeholders, people, government, industries and people is seen to having the opportunity for developmental activities in landscape level planning strategies. The various types of the planned investments are taken into consideration with the integration of ecological provincial policies. The district manager of MNRF has the opportunity for LCC to recommend one of its members for participating in the planning team. Moreover, MNRF district manager is able to invite person who are collectively able to represent the overlapping licensees and the beneficiary of the MNRF wood supply assurances which does not have the ownership in the company for sustainable forest license policy[16].

In the first stage the MNRF district manager is seen to offer occasions for a representative of each “Métis community” and First Nation whose interests or the traditional uses including the credible and established aboriginal treaties may get affected to participate on the FMP planning team. The individuals representing MNRF are invited to join as advisors for the overall planning process which is related to the reviews given by the planning team or the reviewers. As per the recommendation given by the MNRF district manager, the government ministries or the agencies determine the organisations having specific interests which need to be addressed in the FMP. In case the ministries express their concern, they are invited for participating on the planning team. The participation by LCC is considered as an essential component of the preparation and implementation process of the FMP which consists of the representative from the different committees who are seen to participate in the planning team, in case it is desired by the committee. The various types of the other committee member may also express their concern on the attending the planning team meetings and the observers[17].


In the last few decades the tendency of the incorporating has considered the forest polices for the planning process of the people’s participation. However, the researchers are able to develop the influential lists of the criteria for the evaluation of the public participation which is able to consider the theoretical conjecture in the collection of empirical process. The provincial land-use planning for BC forest management is done by Brenneis. The significant consideration of the public participation is further seen to take into consideration to include the various types of the legal mandate which is able to include the comprehensive public participation along with “access to information, adequate resources for participation”[18].

The public participation of the “BC forest management” has been able to take into consideration the different types of the forest polices which is seen to related “democratic theory” and within the historical context of “BC forest management”.  As per the recent complaints associated to the inadequate involvement of participating occasions reviewed at the “Forest Practices Board” there is a decrease the extent of public participation of land-in-use as per the discussed planning process. The main problem concerning forest policy was depicted with inadequate participatory opportunities which reduced the overall land-use planning. As per the latest public participation policy BC is able to link the various types of the public participation with the democratic theory. This approach offers the rationale of public use as per the reasons which explains the rationality in acclaiming such procedures[19].

The forest policy issued by BC is has involved the various facets of the ecological culture which is seen to be associated to the assessment of the “public participation and environmental stewardship of forests”. However, the various types of the consideration for the environmental stewardship has little contribution to the economic diversification. Several types of the collaborative studies have further able to suggest that the different type the consideration for the participation is not based on a sustainable effort diversifying the conventional forestry from the usually achievable involvement of the communities[20].


The various depictions made in the report is able to discuss on different aspects of the complexity which are seen to be taken into consideration with the growth in size and the complexity of the forestry, “bureaucracy and capitalists” of the forest industry thereby asserting “short-term private economic priorities” over the longer-term resources management goals for the professional foresters. The main differentiating aspects between the Ontario forest policy and BC forest policy is taken into consideration with several international scrutinies. It needs to be understood that the Ontario Forestry policies is dedicated for dealing the forests in a manner which secures the long-term viability of the business and able to enhance the shareholder value thereby upholding the “environmental planning”.  However, British Columbia has a more stringent regulation in compare to the later. The policy adopted by BC mainly focused on riparian zone management, clearcutting and maintenance of protected areas. The overall analysis was able to depict that British Columbia’s environmental forestry rules had a tendency of being lax than government harvesting in United States.


Anderson, William, and David MacLean. "Public forest policy development in New Brunswick, Canada: multiple streams approach, advocacy coalition framework, and the role of science." Ecology and Society 20.4 (2015).

Furness, Ella, Howard Harshaw, and Harry Nelson. "Community forestry in British Columbia: policy progression and public participation." Forest Policy and Economics 58 (2015): 85-91.

Gilani, Haris R., Robert A. Kozak, and John L. Innes. "The state of innovation in the British Columbia value-added wood products sector: the example of chain of custody certification." Canadian Journal of Forest Research 46.8 (2016): 1067-1075.

Golden, Denise M., Carol Audet, and M. A. Smith. "“Blue-ice”: framing climate change and reframing climate change adaptation from the indigenous peoples' perspective in the northern boreal forest of Ontario, Canada." Climate and Development 7.5 (2015): 401-413.

Griffith, Jodi, Alan P. Diduck, and Jacques Tardif. "Manitoba's forest policy regime: Incremental change, concepts, actors and relationships." The Forestry Chronicle 91.1 (2015): 71-83.

Hoberg, George, et al. "Forest carbon mitigation policy: a policy gap analysis for British Columbia." Forest Policy and Economics 69 (2016): 73-82.

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Richardson, Andrew David. "Peer review report 1 On “Trends of carbon fluxes and climate over a mixed temperate-boreal transition forest in southern Ontario, Canada”." Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 217 (2016): 17-18.

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St-Laurent, Guillaume Peterson, Shannon Hagerman, and George Hoberg. "Emergence and influence of a new policy regime: The case of forest carbon offsets in British Columbia." Land Use Policy 60 (2017): 169-180.

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Thiffault, Evelyne, et al., eds. Mobilisation of forest bioenergy in the boreal and temperate biomes: Challenges, opportunities and case studies. Academic Press, 2016.

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