Inaccurate assessment

Professional reliance is a common attribute of our social framework

Re: Response to Editorial Cortes Private Land Forests

The Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) is the regulator of forest professionals in BC. We have a concern regarding the editorial perspective provided by your paper December 11, 2012 (Provincial oversight missing in Cortes logging dispute). The editorial repeated a statement from an earlier article on the subject that, in our view, provided misleading and inaccurate assessment of professional reliance.

Professional reliance is a common attribute of our social framework. We rely on regulated professionals for many complicated tasks such as: tax submissions, financial planning, medical services, legal practice, professional forestry and many others. The practice of professional forestry is required to be undertaken by forest professionals in BC. Registered professional foresters (RPFs) and registered forest technologists (RFTs) have achieved a post-secondary education and completed a two-year articling period in natural resource management. In pursuing their registered status, RFTs have invested four years and RPFs six years before being entitled to independently practice professional forestry in B.C. The registered forest professionals in B.C. care about the forests and have dedicated their careers to the management of B.C. natural forest resources.

The B.C. legislature has provided the Foresters Act describing the professions role and has also provided legislation and regulation governing forest practice for both Crown and private lands. The landowner is required to engage the services of a forest professional in the practice of professional forestry. The role of forest professionals is to provide the advice and direction required to properly conduct forest land treatments. In their practice, forest professionals bring the important objectives and stewardship to bear in the decision. Forest professionals do not decide the values important to society, they do not set the management objectives for the land, nor do they decide what components of compliance will be under the forest practice framework.

Forest professionals do provide the landowner (private or Crown) with the necessary science-based understanding and forest land planning to transact their goals within the legal framework, to monitor and report results, and recommend further treatments. This is to ensure that the appropriate level of professional service is applied to the decision making process and that public and private objectives are achieved. In this way, the forest professional practises professional reliance by providing a trusted and respected source of information for both the public and landowner interest.

Mike Larock, RPF

Director of Professional Practice and Forest Stewardship