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General News · 8th September 2008
norberto (for Claire Trevena)
Please check the poster for an important meeting with opposition forests critic Bob Simpson and our North Island MLA Claire Trevena
State of Decline?
Comment by David Shipway on 15th September 2008
Remember Pat Marchak's book "Falldown"?
Old growth forests on the southern BC coast have already been reduced to the absolute minimum required to maintain biodiversity and keystone habitat, and everyone living in reality recognizes that by now, I hope. The trouble is, this has immensely increased the pressure to harvest the second growth forests at lower elevations long before they have reached maturity, and this is perhaps an even greater economic and ecological disaster than the dwindling old growth.

Why? Because second growth forests are also the future source of potential old growth habitat at low elevations, and the quality of wood needed for value-added manufacturing, at least the kind of value-added manufacturing that employs skillful woodworkers, continues to plummet. It's impossible to make traditional high-value wood furniture, windows, doors, boats, etc. out of the sappy young wood now being harvested in immature plantations.

Since I make my living with wood, I really do see that the state of our forests continues to be one of incremental decline: not only in the quality of wood being produced by younger forests, but also in the amount of carbon being sequestered and stored per hectare, a crucial factor in combating the dangerous climate changes looming on the horizon. Young trees and understory vegetation simply do not absorb as much CO2 as more mature forests, in spite of what Rick Slaco or the BC Competition Council says.

After all, that's what the forestry term "culmination age" really means. This on average is at least around 125+ years in managed Douglas Fir, somewhere around 250+ in managed Red Cedar. But Industry is now chopping it all down at 60 or less, eliminating the very best years of tree growth entirely, disturbing and eliminating carbon sinks, and dismantling critical forest structure for biodiversity as well. This is a crime of immense proportions, inflicted against present and future generations.

Until government and industry make a strong legal commitment to end this premature extraction, and grow more mature forests on longer ecological rotations, we will continue to go rapidly downhill, both economically and ecologically, until the once-great forests of coastal BC are as thin as green paint.