Sunday, October 28, 2012

Does BC Forest Industry have an image problem?

The University of BC is hosting a panel discussion in Victoria on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 on the above question For details visit http://www.alumni.ubc.ca/2012/events/dialogues/ubc-dialogues-victoria-2012/

The title raises a few questions. The BC forest industry seems to have greater problems than its outward appearance. The BC Government and its corporate forest industry partners have been extracting more than nature can provide from our public forests. The day of reckoning has arrived and it appears that the fearless leaders of improvidence think that they can solve their problems with a little public relations green wash. There is no new thinking and approach here. The exploitation of BC's public forests has been covered up with green wash for decades.

The public relations men will not like the word exploitation. However, BC legal framework of managing public forests is based on rights to harvest timber and that will result in exploitation and future problems. Yes, you can dress it up with higher level planning objectives, tree planting after short term planning for harvest in piecemeal parts of the public forest and call it sustainable forest management. Yes, you can dazzle the public with facts about over-winter survival of mountain pine beetles in warm winters. You neglect to inform the public of other factors involved in the recent mountain pine beetle epidemic that has caused the loss of approximately $100 Billion in timber values. (We were too busy harvesting more valuable species in the interior of BC that we let huge areas of Lodge pole Pine get too old and susceptible to mountain pine beetle attack).

There is an excellent future for forestry in BC. The public has got it right in having a poor perception of forest management in BC. The public can realize a good future of BC Forest management in BC by demanding a new system of forest stewardship that is not based on corporate rights to harvest timber. rather the system should be based on responsibilities for comprehensive stewardship of forest landscape under democratic locally managed forest trusts.


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