CBFA Releases Towards A Natural Range of Variation (NRV) Strategy Report To Guide Signatories In Implementation of World-Leading Forest Practices

By October 27, 2016Blog

This week, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) released the Towards a Natural Range of Variation (NRV) Strategy for the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Report.  The report is intended to support CBFA signatories in their pursuit to implement world-leading sustainable forest practices. Goal 1 of the agreement compels signatories to implement world-leading boreal “on-the-ground” sustainable forest management practices based on the principle of ecosystem based management, active adaptive management and third party verification and developing a natural range of variation strategy is a key step toward achievement of this goal on lands covered under the Agreement.

Integration of the natural range of variation (NRV) of ecosystem patterns and processes into forest management is the conceptual foundation of ecosystem-based management (EBM). The idea is that there is a low risk of loss of biological function, productivity, and individual ecological elements if ecosystems are managed within their natural range of variation. This approach is predicated on the presumption that it is possible and acceptable to emulate natural patterns through forest harvesting activities. However, a variety of ecological and social-economic reasons may make it difficult if not impossible for forest harvesting to completely replicate natural disturbances. This report provides guidance on developing an NRV strategy that identifies and addresses these differences.

Dr. David Andison, a leading expert in natural range of variation research and implementation, and lead author of the report, states “this report represents the latest thinking on the Natural Range of Variation concept and has been developed collectively by the leading NRV experts from across the country.  This guidance will provide a common, science-based foundation for CBFA signatories as they develop their NRV strategies in pursuit of world-leading sustainable forest practices.”

“This report on Natural Range of Variation is a positive document that supports the forest sector to achieve our commitment to world-leading, sustainable, forest management practices,” says Gordon Sanders, Chief Forester, Alberta for West Fraser Timber Company. “It is a result of collaborative stakeholder efforts and details the steps that can be taken to design forestry activities to more closely match the natural disturbances in the forest and maintain forest vitality for decades to come.”

Read more about the voluntary commitment by FPAC member forest companies and others to manage the boreal forest using knowledge of natural patterns of ecosystem structure and composition to guide forest management activities:

Innovative new commitment to natural landscapes in the Canadian boreal forest

The science and provincial leadership behind ecosystem-based forestry

CBFA releases new report on Ecosystem-Based Management

Forestry Requirements for Natural Range of Variation (NRV) Analysis and Target Setting

Status Report on Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Policy Barriers and Opportunities for EBM in Canada

Read a summary of the technical report:

Towards a Natural Range of Variation (NRV) Strategy For the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Summary Report


Kris McCleary is the co-ordinator for the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement’s Science Committee.