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LETTER: Urgent call for action on 3rd anniversary of forest recommendations

Environmental advocate Robert Hart urges government action to combat deforestation
Debate continues about the future of old growth forests and associated eco systems within the province. (Government of British Columbia)

An open letter to:

Nathan Cullen,

Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Dear Nathan:

I am writing to you on the third anniversary of your government’s acceptance of all 14 recommendations within A New Future for Old Forests. That report called for urgency and profound change to accomplish the necessary paradigm shift to adequately respond to the climate emergency and the contribution of our forestry practices to it. The unfolding disaster of our burning forests has reminded us that nature is not listening to government’s inaction.

Our primary method of timber harvest continues to be clearcutting the landscape, releasing carbon on a scale equal to the fossil fuel industry, (and strangely not counted as part of the total amount of carbon emissions for which we accept responsibility).

Nor does your government apparently accept the cumulative damage that clearcuts cause; a drying of the landscape, a reduced ability to manage water and moderate climate as well as the reduction of functioning ecosystems, a loss of habitat and a cascade of species extinction.

We have been converting our province, once described as super-natural, into an impoverished landscape, capable of creating only increased risk. Denuded hillsides contribute to both erosion and flooding. Uniform second-growth stands are tinder boxes waiting to be lit. The costs of these calamities far exceeds the contributions of industrial forestry to the economy. Our closed again mill reminds us of that.

We need to return to a community-based economies that can use truly sustainable harvesting methods that do not degrade the ecologies within which they operate. To do that, you have to rebuild multi-stakeholder community committees as a permanent part of landscape planning. In the meantime, please stop BC Timber Sales and the forest industry from destroying the watersheds within which we live.

Your government agreed to A New Future for Old Forests three years ago. Where have you been?

Robert Hart, Past Chair,

Plan Implementation Committee,

Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan,

Terrace, B.C.