For many years and more so in recent months, the BC Truck Loggers Association has called for a collective vision for forestry in our province. Earlier this month, we renewed the call and asked the B.C. government to facilitate the way forward, as a matter of urgency.
Forestry has been at the forefront of media attention for the last several months in many areas of the province. A blockade highlighted in the October 18 edition of the Revelstoke Review underlines the extent to which the current situation is untenable and requires leadership.
While I can appreciate the passion of all involved, if we truly and collectively want the sector to prosper, there are solutions to address government and societies’ expectations of B.C.’s forest management. However, this requires meaningful collaboration, decision-making that is informed by a true understanding of the issues, and the consequences affecting the livelihood of BC’s Forest workers and resource communities dependent on its success for their ongoing sustainability.
Current government data states there are 13.7 million hectares of old growth trees in B.C., of which 10 million hectares are protected from harvesting because they lie outside of the timber supply area or are protected in parks. In other words, we will never run out of old growth. It is also important to note that each year, one-third of one per cent of British Columbia’s total forest area is harvested – and only 0.1 per cent of the total forest area harvested in British Columbia is old growth forest.
Unfortunately, people are talking at each other and not to each other – and government needs to initiate truly constructive and collaborative attempts to strike a balance.
The vision will not come about through any singular one of the vested interests, including the TLA, forest licensees, non-government organizations, First Nations, or community groups. That is why we are once again, calling on the Premier and Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to take a leadership role by bringing all key stakeholder groups together – in a real, thoughtful, and collaborative manner.
It’s time for a solution and a clear vision – but the BC government needs to lead the way through collaboration, not in isolation.
-Bob Brash , Executive Director – Truck Loggers Association of BC