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Options for Mitigating the Mid-Term Timber Supply Gap in Central BC
On April 26, 2012, The Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) sent the following letter to Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, regarding options for mitigating the mid-term timber supply gap in Central BC.
Dear Minister Thomson:
The Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) has been the national voice of forest practitioners for more than a century (see www.cif-ifc.org). Representing foresters, forest technologists, ecologists, geographers, biologists, educators, scientists and many others with a professional interest in forestry, our organization endorses the long-term stewardship and sustainability of forest ecosystems, and the diversity of forest values.
Members of our three B.C. Sections (Cariboo, Vancouver and Vancouver Island) have been following with interest the discussion around mitigation options for dealing with the impending shortfall in timber supply, as the uplifts associated with pine beetle salvage are phased out. We support reasonable options to protect forest sector jobs, understanding that sustainability of all forest resources is essential to conserve biodiversity, wildlife, watersheds, scenic values, recreational potential, and other non-timber values. We respectfully recommend caution and careful thought for any changes contemplated on public forested lands, and that we uphold our collective responsibility of ensuring the sustainability and conservation inherent to the social license that allows economic benefit from the forest.
Harvesting uplifts initiated a decade ago to salvage value from beetle-attacked forests were deemed necessary by some groups, however are not sustainable, as several decades worth of softwood resources were harvested. Protected areas, special management areas, ungulate winter ranges, riparian buffers, and old-growth management areas all play important roles in sustaining wildlife and forest ecosystem resilience. Those reserves and areas deferred from immediate harvesting have been designated through detailed, complex analyses and stakeholder negotiations, often as part of large-scale, long-term land use allocation processes (i.e. CORE, LRMPs, etc.). As forest professionals and practitioners, we believe that the recent history of mountain pine beetle attack and accelerated harvesting should not alter the overall balance of land use expected from our forests.
Other public-interest groups and individuals have articulated the need for community engagement in evaluating options for timber supply mitigation. The CIF strongly endorses the need for public consultation and further wishes to emphasize the need for professional evaluations before any harvesting restrictions are amended. Many beetle-killed stands provide old-growth values (i.e., large densities of standing snags or fallen logs, riparian protection, escape cover for wildlife, etc.). The role of each special management area or deferred harvesting stratum is important in a landscape. The ability of these areas to continue meeting that role must be considered on a case by case basis. In some instances, it may be perfectly legitimate to replace old-growth reserves with different reserve areas as long as landscape-level objectives continue to be met.
We recognize that maintaining forest industry jobs, economic activity, and stumpage revenue are important for healthy communities and a diverse provincial economy. Perhaps the impending timber supply crisis will generate opportunities to make some important transitions in B.C.’s forest sector. Creative solutions may include greater consideration of the broadleaf resource and further options for the bioenergy industry. The principles of sustainable forest management and the long- term conservation of all forest values are paramount for healthy forests and future generations.
The Canadian Institute of Forestry looks forward to further engagement on this important issue, in the future management of British Columbia’s forests. Please feel free to follow-up with John Pineau at 705-744-1715 ext. 585 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for continued dialogue or additional input and information from our membership.
Mark Kube, R.P.F. President
John Pineau Executive Directo
Cc: Right Honourable Christy Clark, Premier Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism & Innovation Mr. John Rustad, MLA Nechako Lakes Mr. Bob Simpson, MLA Cariboo North Mr. Adrian Dix, Leader of the Opposition
Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada
c/o The Canadian Ecology Centre, P.O. Box 430 – 6905 Hwy. 17 West, Mattawa, ON P0H 1V0
Tel: 705-744-1715 • Fax: 705-744-1716 • E-mail: email@example.com • website: www.cif-ifc.org