As a managed forest landowner, you must be aware of reforestation requirements. Whether you’ve harvested a part of your managed forest or an area has been destroyed by events such as fire or insect attack, you have the obligation to reforest the disturbed area.
As Phil O’Connor, Executive Director of MFC, explains, “Our inspectors are telling us that in discussions with owners, reforestation requirements are poorly understood. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with Council regulatory requirements around restocking and the establishment of a successfully regenerated stand. An owner’s lack of due diligence in recognizing these regulatory obligations around reforestation could lead to an investigation, possible monetary penalties, remediation orders or a combination of these.”
Reforestation requirements, including timelines, are set out in Section 31 of the Council Regulation:
- If the area was harvested or destroyed after becoming an owner’s land, the owner must:
- Restock the area with the minimum number of crop trees within 5 years (for example, if an area was harvested in 2010, it is now required to be restocked) and
- Successfully regenerate the area within 15 years (for example, if an area was harvested in 2000, it is now required to be successfully regenerated)
- If the area was harvested or destroyed before becoming an owner’s land, the owner must:
- Restock the area with the minimum number of crop trees within 10 years and
- Successfully regenerate the area within 20 years
The Regulation also requires that trees be reasonably well distributed throughout the restocked and regenerated areas. Reporting of restocking and successful regeneration within the specified time frames is the responsibility of the owner.
There are two exceptions to this regulation: when the disturbed area is less than one hectare, or when the remaining trees meet the definition of a successfully regenerated stand.
Phil O’Connor “encourages owners to review outstanding reforestation obligations, and if required, employ appropriate resources to ensure ongoing compliance with the Council Regulation.”
If you have questions about Council regulations around reforestation, or about reforestation obligations and timelines on your managed forest, feel free to contact us.
Several sources of information exist on reforestation best practices:
- Council Policy on Stocking Variability and Crop Tree Selection provides detail on ‘crop trees’ and ‘reasonably well distributed’
- Council’s Field Practices Guide
- Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations- Resource Practices Branch- **Important to note that reforestation standards on crown land are different than on private managed forest land. However this website has general resources applicable to private managed forest land including stand tending, survey methods, species selection and specifically for silviculture surveys
- Private Forest Landowners Association Best Management Practices