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Overview of the Forest Investment Account

The Forest Investment Account (FIA) is a provincial government mechanism for promoting sustainable forest management in British Columbia. It is founded upon a Vote of the Legislature, authorizing the Minister of Forests to provide funding for certain forest management activities. Specific amounts have been dedicated to program elements at the provincial level, other amounts have been allocated for disbursement to tree farm licence holders and certain tenure holders in each timber supply area.

The purpose of this web site is to provide a general overview of the FIA, provide information on land-base guidelines and standards, and to link with the specific program sites. The web site will be updated from time to time so that it remains an accurate portrayal of the FIA policies and processes.

FIA Program Objectives

Across the sweep of provincial and local program elements, the objectives of FIA expenditures include:

  • Actively fostering sustainable forest management by:
    • Acquiring better information about forest resources
    • Improving the modeling of forest dynamics
    • Fostering comprehensive strategic land-use planning
    • Monitoring changes to forest resources
    • Supporting the creation of sustainable forest management plans
    • Supporting the feasibility of third-party certification
  • Improving the public forest asset base by:
    • Supporting the creation and deployment of improved seedlings and other germplasm
    • Funding backlog reforestation of areas denuded before 1987
    • Reclaiming site productivity
    • Restoring damaged ecosystems
  • Promoting greater returns from the utilization of public timber by:
    • Promoting secondary manufacturing
    • Marketing British Columbia forest products

FIA Programs

To accomplish these objectives, the Legislature has approved the following program expenditures in 2003-04:

  • A Land Base Investment Program (LBIP), of $69.813 million. Of this amount, a portion has been distributed to the Ministries of Forests (MOF), Sustainable Resource Management (MSRM), and Water, Land and Air Protection (MWLAP) to support:
    • the development of standards that will apply to licensees' land-base activities,
    • technical assistance to third party administrators; and
    • maintenance and use of data collected through FIA investments.

    The majority of funds ($59.750M) are being distributed to licensees and will also cover the third party administration costs for the LBIP. A portion of these funds will be directed to funding Defined Forest Area Management (DFAM) transition activities for timber supply review work and forest health activities associated with bark beetle. The remainder of the funding will be distribute to eligible licensees according to an allocation formula based on the volume harvested during the previous three years. More information is available under the land-base investment program site. Ultimately, licensees will be expected to undertake co-operative investment planning and execute cost-effective activities related to forest productivity, resource information and natural resource sustainability.

  • Provincial Programs of $9.188 million. These programs will be administered centrally. They include $5.075 million in support for tree improvement and genetic resource management, $3.238 million to continue the Crown Land Use Planning Enhancement program, and $0.875 million for a Small Tenures Program. The Small Tenures program will provide planning, investment and training program development funds to Woodlot licensees and Community Forest Agreement holders.
  • A Forestry Innovation Investment Program (FIIP), including a Research Program of $12.0million, a Product Development Program of $7.0million, and an International Marketing Program of $12.0 million.

In all cases, there is no provision for carrying unspent funds into the following fiscal year.

FIA Governance

Within the context of the Legislature’s voted appropriation, the Minister of Forests has decision-making authority in respect of FIA parameters. The Deputy Minister of Forests has convened, and will chair, a Forest Investment Council (Figure 1.0) that will periodically review and make recommendations on all FIA programs. The Council will include the Deputy Ministers of Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (MSRM) and Ministry of Water Land Air Protection (MWLAP), three licensee representatives, and one representative from the forest research and technology sector.

The Council will receive progress reports and audit results from the private-sector administrators described below, and will be responsible for determining whether guidance or restrictions are necessary to ensure that investment choices provide the greatest contribution to sustainable forest management. Council members may recommend changes to future funding allocations, eligibility criteria and program expectations.

An advisory board has been struck to periodically make recommendations on the Product Development and the International Marketing Programs. This board is chaired by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Economics Division, Ministry of Forests.

A second advisory board has been struck to periodically make recommendations on the Research Program. This board is chaired by the Chief Forester, Ministry of Forests.

A Secretary to the Forest Investment Council will be responsible for managing the Province’s contracts with the private-sector program administrators, maintaining a list of activities that are eligible for LBIP funding, and providing guidance to tenure holders from time to time. Two Ministry of Forests staff members will provide part-time assistance to the Secretary, the Council, and the program administrators.

FIA Administration

Staff in the Ministry of Forests, with assistance and input from staff in MSRM and MWLAP, is responsible for establishing FIA objectives and establishing delivery standards. Having established the operating criteria for FIA, government staff will have no direct role in setting activity priorities, approving LBIP projects, verifying fieldwork, or certifying project completion.

Administration of most FIA activities will be provided by private-sector firms rather than by government staff. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP will provide day-to-day administration for the Land-Base Investment Program, the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations will manage the Small Tenures program and Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) Ltd. will do the same for the Research, Product Development, and International Marketing Programs.

The private-sector administrators will accept investment schedule proposals and confirm that they constitute an optimum mix of expenditures to promote sustainable forest management. They will also ensure that each proposed activity is eligible for FIA funding, provide funds to successful proponents, and track project delivery as well as be responsible for performance and financial auditing. Each will be accountable to government, and will be subject to an annual audit by the Office of the Auditor General.

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