NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 1, 2006

Although the forests of British Columbia, Canada, are 96 percent government-owned, the management of the forests is far more market-driven than in the U.S. Forest Service, according to a new report by Alison Berry, a research fellow with the Property and Environment Research Center.

For example:

  • The government of the province transfers management responsibilities for most of its forests to the private sector through long-term agreements called tenures, some of which extend for 25 years or more.
  • Some of these tenures resemble private property, and provide incentives for reforestation, investment in silviculture and environmental protection.

This experience with secure, long-term tenures offers valuable lessons for the United States, says Berry.

"It would be unnecessary to adopt the British Columbia tenure system as it exists," she explains, "but the United States could use the timber tenure system as a model for creating a more flexible timber program that addresses multiple resources such as recreation."  Berry notes that the U.S. Forest Service suffers detrimental effects from its short-term timber sales program.  Her new paper also includes case studies illustrating how some British Columbia tenures operate.

Source: Alison Berry, "Lessons from British Columbia: Public Forest Management," Property and Environment Research Center, August 2006.

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