Re: Letter: BC Truck Loggers Association calls for collective vision for forestry
First of all Old Growth Revylution would like to thank the Truck Loggers Association for their call for a collective vision for forestry. We share the desire for a collaborative hammering out of a positive vision for forestry in B.C.
We do take issue with the province’s statistics on what remains of old growth forests in B.C.
Holt, Daust and Price’s independent research: BC’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand for Biodiversity, it makes clear that only 3 per cent of B.C.’s land base is capable of supporting large trees, and only 2.7 per cent of the trees are actually old. Their research found most of the area the province considers old growth can’t support big trees, which store high amounts of carbon, support biodiversity, and make forests resilient to wildfire. Instead, most of it is low productivity forest, such as small trees at high elevations. That being said, agreeing about the amount of old growth left in B.C. will not ultimately take us where we want to go.
In addition, we urgently need to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) is too high. Allowable Annual Cut is a euphemism for Minimal Annual Cut as logging companies must log the AAC allotted their tenure within five years, or they will lose their tenure or pay a penalty.
It is common knowledge in the timber industry that the AAC has been too high for decades and will lead to the Mid-Term Timber Supply Crisis or “falldown” (when the harvest “falls down” on the graph). This happens when there will not be enough second growth trees ready to harvest when all the primary (never logged) or old growth forest is gone. Then these logging corporations that are presently operating will leave and commence operations in forests and mills in the United States and Sweden. This is already happening. The result is leaving us with fewer logging jobs, mill closures AND no irreplaceable primary and old forests.
Yes, we are headed for a brick wall with our forestry sector, and the AAC is no smaller than it was under the previous Liberal government. This operating paradigm serves no-one well: B.C. will lose our old growth forest ecosystems, which are home to many endangered species and are biological archives. They are also veritable cathedrals to many people. We will also be left with few jobs in the lumber industry.
These results are all preventable. We need to lower the AAC immediately, stop exporting raw logs to foreign markets, increase value added products so the number of jobs per volume cut increases (at present BC has the lowest jobs per volume cut in the country), shift tenures to local and Indigenous communities, and log in a nature based mode.
Meaningful logging deferrals are essential while this forestry vision for the future is implemented. The caring souls who are standing to protect a pristine valley and what’s left of some primary forest north of Revelstoke are doing so for the sake of our beloved ancient forests and for the workers in the forest industry.
We too are frustrated waiting for the government to act. We would love to collaborate with the truck loggers and other stakeholders on forging a positive vision for the future of forestry in B.C. We care for the old growth ecosystems and we care very, very much about people in our community too.
-Virginia Thompson MSW EdD, Old Growth Revylution
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