General News · 13th February 2022
An open letter to: Colin Koszman, Land Use Forester at Mosaic
From: Ralph Garrison, Cortes Island
Concerning: Timber harvest plans on Cortes Island.
Here are a few of my questions relating to your plans to cut timber on Cortes Island.
How will you guarantee your lands are kept in forestry for the long term?
In the recent past, your corporate predecessors have sold much of your land to buyers that then quickly cut and sell. This happened with both MacMillan Bloedel and Weyerhauser. Forests should be managed for lengths of time that represent the life of a forest. Hundreds of years. Not a few years, or even decades. I suggest protective covenants that keep these lands in forest management indefinitely.
How will your management strategy make your lands less vulnerable to wild fire?
Even-aged forests seem particularly vulnerable to wild fire. Only older forests seem somewhat resistant to wildfire. Fire can't spread easily if there is no continuous level of vegetation. Plantations are the worst, and for many years, until enough trees die to create an uneven spacing. Thinning could be helpful. Are you willing to thin the forests you own to make them less vulnerable?
Hardwood trees are less vulnerable to fire. Firebreaks of alder and/or maple could be useful if planned on a landscape level.
How will your management lead to older forests?
Past practices have left large areas of young forests. Current plans seem to target older trees. The cutblocks proposed seem to be targeting older trees in areas that have been clearcut recently. This is especially true in the area south of the Klahoose reserve. Next to the log dump the adjoining property was sold by your predecessors and cut.
How will your operations lead to more local employment over time?
Not just harvesting. What about secondary manufacture? This requires long range. Already the volume of timber coming off of the community forest lands is too great for the local millers to handle. Secondary manufacturing should be in place before Mosiac harvests begin.
What is the effect of your cutting plans on carbon release?
Older forest are more resistant to climate change. And when they are cut huge amounts of carbon dioxide are released. Future trees will take up carbon in their growth, but the carbon released today will not be taken up for decades! We are facing a climate crisis now!
Landscape level planning and community consultation are needed before you proceed with your plans.