Legislation and Government

In British Columbia, wildlife trees may be protected under both Provincial or Municipal laws. At a Provincial scale, the Wildlife Act, Section 34 External Link, states that:

A person commits an offence if the person, except as provided by regulation, possesses, takes, injures, molests or destroys:

(a) a bird or its egg,
(b) the nest of an eagle, peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon, osprey, heron or burrowing owl, or
(c) the nest of a bird not referred to in paragraph (b) when the nest is occupied by a bird or its egg.

The Wildlife Act provides year-round protection for a very specific list of species, and only protects the tree that the nest is in. To expand this protection, many Local Governments have developed bylaws that protect the habitat surrounding the nest trees for those species designated in the Provincial Wildlife Act. These local bylaws are often in the form of Development Permit Areas (DPAs). Each jurisdiction has its own bylaws and many areas have no protection at all for Wildlife Trees. In areas with no local tree protection bylaws, outside of the nesting season, a landowner has the right to cut down any trees right up to and beside a tree containing the nest of one of the designated bird species. During the nesting season, such an activity may 'molest' the nesting birds, and could result in an offense.

WiTS is working with local governments concerning wildlife trees and community planning.  Through the Local Government Act External Link, local governments can write legislation to protect buffer areas around wildlife trees. 

Government Relations

WiTS has formal data sharing agreements with the following local governments:

Strathcona Regional District

 Comox Valley Regional District

Regional District of Nanaimo

Cowichan Valley Regional District

Capital Regional District

Islands Trust

Greater Vancouver Regional District

Contact one of our regional representatives for more information on what local governments can do to protect wildlife trees.

Develop With Care Guidelines

The BC Ministry of Environment provides a series of Develop With Care Guidelines for urban and rural land development, with information on protecting wildlife trees.

arrow Bald Eagles and Osprey (PDF 726 kb PDF)
arrow Great Blue Herons (PDF 653 kb PDF)

Additional information on these guidelines is available from the BC Ministry of Environment website External Link.


The following legislation applies to the issues with which WiTS is involved.