Warning: In view of the pending long weekend we have gone light on fact content.
Government Asks For Recommendations to
Revitalize the Coast Forest Sector
It’s an axiom of commerce that owners of an enterprise have two areas where they have to succeed. They first need to look after their businesses. To do that they compete. Secondly, they need to look out for the welfare of their industry or sector as a whole. To do that they cooperate. That principle may be tested as part of the process our BC government has framed to revitalize the coast forest sector. In a crowded meeting this week in Vancouver MFLNRORD Minister Doug Donaldson and senior bureaucrats met with a wide range of forestry actors including licensees, producers, First Nations and contractors asking them to work on recommendations to increase manufacturing on the coast and find ways to process more logs in BC. It’s been 15 years since the last major review of the province’s forest industry leading to the reforms of the 2003 Forest Revitalization Plan. That effort produced major changes to harvest markets and tenure across the province. This revitalization strategy is not as broad in scope, but it needs some sharp ideas given the severe problems around waste, utilization and fibre supply on the coast. Our government also made it clear that the closer the coast sector can come to thoughtful and balanced recommendations in line with its political goals around job creation, commitments to First Nations and social license, the less chance of it having to impose a solution. As one of those groups with a direct interest in maintaining a vigorous coast forest sector the WFCA is now collaborating with its counterparts in the sector to come up with recommendations. The process is expected to produce results by early fall.
Should We Be Planting More Deciduous Trees in BC?
It’s becoming an elaboration of the obvious to say that diversity underpins resilience in ecosystems like our forest and range landscapes in BC. In fact the diminished diversity of the landscape brought about by the history our forest practices certainly appears to have made it vulnerable to the disastrous assaults from bugs and fire over the last decades. In subsequently restoring forests and rangelands to an abundant state it’s provident then to calibrate efforts now so that the landscape will actually develop the diversity and dynamics that produce resilience. The problem with dealing with the vast damage we’ve seen so far is not just about scale, but time as well. If we are not careful we can inadvertently synchronize the landscape to repeat the same catastrophe in the next generation that we are living with now. One way around that conundrum might be to plant more deciduous trees. For example, research has shown aspen can be an effective buffer against wildfire in the wildland urban interface (WUI). That hypothesis is being tested near Cranbrook now in a field experiment to expand aspen stands adjacent to and part of the city’s WUI. But to have an effect on the broader landscape, particularly as a fuel break capable of taking the intensity out of the mass fires we’re seeing, we would need to plant large swathes of these trees. These deciduous stands would also serve to more fully diversify species ensuring we weren’t just establishing more or less contiguous plantations of homogenous conifers and the risks that represents. Most of the thinking we find among planners so far is that deciduous trees will establish themselves on their own here and there on the landscape. But if our goals are to reduce homogeneity and synchronization on the landscape, and avoid the risk of continuing to see our plantations and current forests lost to massive wildfires, we may want to rethink that assumption.
Photographs of Brittany Triangle Show Losses of
John Huizinga former tree planter, photo-journalist and advocate for protecting the wild horses of the Brittany Triangle sent these recent photos to our desk.