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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2018) 63(2): 6–13
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Feature article
The working forest - a view from British Columbia

John L. Innes *,1

1 Dean, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Email:
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: British Columbia’s forest sector is facing some significant challenges, with the most important being restrictions on timber supply brought about by disturbances and changes in governance of the land base. In the past the concept of a ‘working forest’ was proposed, defined as the forested land area that would be reserved for growing and harvesting timber. This would have prevented land from being selected for another purpose, such as reserves to protect biodiversity. While this idea has not received widespread acceptance, it is worth reconsidering but in a broader context. All forests ‘work’, but not all types of ‘work’ are recognised and given monetary values. However, we are seeing increasing numbers of examples where non-timber goods and services from forests are being assigned economic value, including wetland, biodiversity and carbon credits. These, combined with a move to higher value products coming from forests, could result in a renaissance of the sector. A clear, insightful and long-term plan needs to be developed by the agency (i.e. the Crown) responsible for the management of the land base.
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