Aerial photo of clear cut logged patches above Penticton. - Image: Contributed

Letter: BC forest practices need to change

Letter writer says forestry is in need of an overhaul

To the editor:

Regarding the article NDP to Review Forest Practices (Black Press, Feb. 9, 2018):

Both locally and province-wide there are watershed, environmental, wildlife and recreation groups concerned with the current state of forestry. The Glade Watershed Protection Society in the West Kootenays is a member of the B.C. Coalition for Forestry Reform, along with Peachland, Clinton, Juan de Fuca, Swansea, Shuswap, Yalakom and other regions and organizations.

Minister Donaldson talks about planting more trees, and diversifying wood products and lumber mills, but this will not be enough.

For example: Mark Jaccard, SFU Energy and Materials Research Group, says planting trees “doesn’t cut it… reforesting land that will eventually be harvested doesn’t yield any significant results. Carbon sequestered by trees would eventually go back into the atmosphere once the trees are logged, especially when a lot of the excess fibres are burned…”

Natural Resources Canada states “Canada’s forests cover a greater land area and store more carbon than do the forests of almost any other nation. How Canada manages its forests is therefore a global concern.”

Th Black Press article reports on devastating events that have compromised many levels of watersheds and infrastructure in the Okanagan region. This is happening, has happened, or will be happening across the province of British Columbia as ministries play catch-up with climate change, especially as B.C. decision makers are still in the locker room wondering what to wear while climate change has won the first game on the field.

The premier’s office and the government need to look at the cumulative effects of sustained continual cutting, of adhering to consistently damaging practices like slash burning. They need to act now on climate change. They need to be fearless in the face of industry proponents who advocate for the profitable but short-sighted status quo.

We need to listen and hear what environmental scientists and citizens are saying. This is a province-wide concern, especially where it affects water sources for British Columbians. We all need to step up. Contact your local MLA, MP or Ministry of Forests and the Ministry of Environment – give them the support they need in order to make change happen!

Heather McSwan,

Glade Watershed Protection Society

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