Ecosystem services are the “outputs” of ecosystems that humans depend on and require for the fulfillment of life. These include goods and services such as timber, water, clean air, and mental wellness. A 2005 assessment of the world’s ecosystems found that human impact has resulted in their extensive degradation. Yet the demand for ecosystem services will continue to increase as the world’s population grows and as the effects of climate change take their toll on the planet. BC’s forests have experienced myriad catastrophic events that have led to the need to replant millions of hectares. However, the current timber-focused reforestation criteria preclude much replanting. This paper investigates best practices for integrating ecosystem services into forest policy in order to maximize the use of BC’s forests for both human and planetary health. Three policy options are evaluated and focus on: accountability through legislation and strategic direction, multi-objective management, forest health and resilience in the face of climate change, and sustainability and the role of culture.
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