Keeping the Special in Special Management Zones
A Citizen's Guide written by Jim Cooperman, published by BC Spaces For Nature
BC Spaces for Nature is a solutions-oriented, conservation organization created in 1990 to promote the protection of British Columbia's rich diversity of wilderness and wildlife. BC Spaces works with individuals and organizations throughout the province to ensure that British Columbia's wild spaces remain intact. Given this mandate, BC Spaces recognized the potential that Special Management Zones could make in safeguarding these values. Hence this Citizen's Guide has been written to help the public ensure that the Special Management Zones will indeed achieve their potential.
After over 125 years of forest development, British Columbia still contains extensive temperate forests. These wildlands contain an extraordinary range of plants and animals that are the envy of the world. Consequently, British Columbians have a global responsibility to steward the environmental values of our province. However, for many years British Columbia's forests have been subjected to damaging logging practices and unsustainable overcutting. In the late 1980's and early 1990's this led to increasing conflicts between the logging industry and conservationists. In places such as Carmanah Valley and Clayoquot Sound the tensions of these confrontations become intense
Topics Covered in the Citizen's Guide:
- CORE Process
- LRMP Process
- Special Management in US Forests
- Ideas for Management and Planning
- Forest Practices Code
- Sensitive Areas
- Wildlife Management Strategy
- Landscape Unit Planning
- Current State of Management
- Case Studies
- Supplementary Data
The Citizen's Guide has been distributed to public libraries throughout BC.
To help resolve these conflicts the BC government sponsored a series of land use planning processes to designate the landbase for the management of both economic and ecological values. The zones delineated through these public negotiation exercises included: Protected Areas, Integrated Management, Enhanced Resource Use and Special Management.
In particular, the establishment of Special Management Zones to maintain and enhance values other than timber - such as environmental and social concerns - were critical to achieving success at the negotiation table. Often, the Special Management Zones were the tool that provided the means to break key deadlocks and bridge the gap between industry and conservationists. In many respects these Special Management Zones epitomize the good will and faith of those individuals who had the courage to sit down and negotiate with their adversaries.
To achieve agreements on these land use plans - often in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds - people from all walks of life, in countless communities across the province devoted a tremendous effort of time and energy. This being so, it is essential that the BC government honour the commitments made to these citizens to ensure that the intrinsic ecological values in the Special Management Zones will endure.
To date, over eight million hectares have been zoned for special management. As well, land use planning processes now underway have the potential to designate more significant areas. Given that Special Management Zones encompass some of our province's most environmentally critical areas, BC Spaces believes heightened public awareness of their values and greater citizen involvement in their management is essential. Therefore, we have commissioned Jim Cooperman, a leading authority within the BC Environmental movement on land use planning, to prepare this Citizen's Guide. By so doing, it is our hope that we can provide the public with the tools and knowledge needed to ensure that the province's Special Management Zones always remain special.
We are grateful to the Vancouver Foundation and the BC Environmental Network for providing funding support of this project.
Ric Careless, Executive Director
BC Spaces for Nature