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Logging of pristine BC island forest to begin in January by Brookfield Asset Management

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  • Logging at more than twice the rate that forest industry auditors say can be sustained threatens the environment and economy alike;
  • Trees logged at younger and younger ages;
  • Successful petitions to the provincial government for forest companies to pull their private holdings out of Tree Farm Licences to avoid regulations aimed to ensure sustainable management;
  • Douglas fir logging, in particular, at a near liquidation pace, with one company’s entire “merchantable” stock slated for depletion in 25 years.
  • A high level of waste of usable wood
  • Loss of jobs because trees are no longer delivered to coastal mills
  • A huge increase in raw log exports from BC’s coast, 62 per cent of which come from private forestlands
  • Tens of thousands of hectares of private forestland being readied for sale as real  estate developments or other “higher and better uses.”

The liquidation of private forest lands means that communities lose essential wildlife habitat and vital ecological services that include drinking water, carbon absorption, erosion and flood control, micro climate stability, and salmonid protection. The present rate of forest liquidation also ignores the long term value of the high end market for BC’s legendary wood by favouring quantity over quality.   

Cutting BC's forests: faster, faster, faster

In 2010, BC log exports increased by more than 50%. More logs were shipped to China than during the previous 20 years combined. In the first three months of 2011 alone, BC’s coast exported 40% or 1.3 million cubic metres of logs, a 300% from the same period in 2009.

Liquidating BC forests to sell lumber to China

With such huge powers at play, it seems possible that all of BC’s private forest lands will be liquidated and sent to China. We clearly need a new paradigm for privately managed forest land. Many communities have protested mightily against the depredation against their water sheds and favorite places: Port Alberni, Cowichan Valley, Port McNeil, Cathedral Grove, and Nanaimo, to name a few. Such protest can seem more like art than strategy, giving expression to communities’ aspirations moments before they are bulldozed under.

But BC's forests have no political voice other than ours. We need to converge for more effective advocacy both for our home forests and for a new paradigm for private forest land management. Our tools include: protests (in January, Cortes Island will be a good place to stand up for forests); fierce opposition to the rezoning of forest land for real estate development; strategic voting through organizations such as the Conservation Voters of BCcomplaints to the Association of BC Professional Foresters for unethical conduct; letters to government and corporate officers (see below) and public advocacy journalism that holds individuals responsible for their corporate actions.

Oh, yes, and signing by the thousands on petitions to protect locally and ecologically significant forests.

Email Addresses:

Protect Cortes Forests:

Reform private forest land management:

  • Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson:  steve.thomson.mla@leg.bc.ca
  • Premier Christy Clark: premier@gov.bc.ca.

Graph below: Forest Management for Global Shareholders

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(37) Comments

Oliver Kellhammer December 23rd 2011 | 3:15 PM

Great article Carrie!

 

 

Graham Foulkes December 23rd 2011 | 8:20 PM

Very informative article , I hope the logging can be prevented, I get depressed by the whole industry especially since i know the lumber from the trees will be used to make what they would call temporary houses in the uk. Cortes is a beautiful place and should be carefully logged .

Melissa Robinson December 24th 2011 | 8:08 AM

I completely disagree with this plan and I am disgusted by it. Let's leave the trees alone! Thanks.

BladeMcCool December 24th 2011 | 8:08 AM

It would be really unfortunate for the logging company if those trees all had chain link fence wrapped around them 10 years ago and have now grown over it ... embedded silently in the wood .. waiting for a chainsaw to snag on it.

Josh December 24th 2011 | 2:14 PM
@blademccool. It would also be unfortunate for the trees that would suffer from girdling. There's nothing cool about that at all! Use your common sense. Thanks. Josh M
linda's picture
linda December 24th 2011 | 2:14 PM

I don't think they're planning on leaving the trees alone.  I used to think Cortes was one big park.  Then I realized it was product.  This is a tragedy, really.

Joel Links December 25th 2011 | 8:08 AM

STOP MESSING UP ARE EARTH!!! PLANT & LOG HEMP AND SAVE ARE PLANET ...

tiffany easton December 25th 2011 | 11:11 AM

save our forrests

Roberth December 26th 2011 | 5:05 AM
You people are a bunch of idiots. You think the wealth of the province that you are benefiting from grew on trees. Oops you are right, it did. Trees grow back. You need to focus on real issues of sustainability around the world that are killing people right now.
Mitch Burns December 26th 2011 | 7:07 AM

Roberth wrote:
You people are a bunch of idiots. You think the wealth of the province that you are benefiting from grew on trees. Oops you are right, it did. Trees grow back. You need to focus on real issues of sustainability around the world that are killing people right now.

Mitch Burns December 26th 2011 | 8:08 AM
Mitch Burns wrote:

Roberth wrote:
You people are a bunch of idiots. You think the wealth of the province that you are benefiting from grew on trees. Oops you are right, it did. Trees grow back. You need to focus on real issues of sustainability around the world that are killing people right now.

Robert, I wonder sitting here if your some little oblivious Kid sitting there learning to play with your Moms computer. Everything is connected in many direct and indirect ways. In alot of ways this is one cog in the wheel of our lives that is wrong and is maybe not easily matched up in your murky near sighted mind right straight off . This is killing people right now. Comments like yours are truly great in building good just steam in the hearts and minds of us who have our fingers on the pulse. I wish it were as easy as trees just growing back Robert , I really do. Your learn more about this when you grow up into a big boy pants.

Brookfield Asset Management is  destroying long term employment in BC. When BAM bought Weyerhaeuser, it divided the assets into two companies: Island Timberlands to manage private managed forest land and Cascadia Forest Products to manage Crown land tenures and mills. The trees from Island Timberlands privately managed forest are exported to Asia and the US. Western Forest Products (in which Brookfield Asset Management is “a major player”) bought Cascadia Forest Products and closed Vancouver Island mills because, without the private managed forest lands, there weren’t enough logs to sustain it.

Long term employment comes from value-added processing of wood in BC, not in forest liquidation at the rate performed by Island Timberlands and not in “log and flog” schemes that turn forests into residential developments.

 

Jared James December 26th 2011 | 11:11 AM

Man this are crazy !!!! Leave the trees alone !!! 

keep this up and soon we wont have any left !!!

 

Havent you ever see Dr. Suess "The Lorax" ??? 

I mean really people ...

marc provencher December 26th 2011 | 3:15 PM

keep the trees alive!!!!

Ross McLeod December 26th 2011 | 4:16 PM

Many people will not agree with me but we all need the forestlands of BC as an economic base. I hope we have learned from the past what not to do in the future.

As logging will continue we need to move forward logging with care and sustainability of the forests in the forefront of our minds. We have the technology.

Leave what little old growth is left alone, be caring of eco systems and DO NOT send raw logs off shore.

If we are going to cut down trees, figure out a way to keep secondary manufacturing jobs in BC.

Could we not end up with the same economic dollar at the end of the day by cutting down fewer trees, process the logs here and send the manufactured products over seas?

It’s a big province, a big industry and a big problem when logging in this era comes to a small island like Cortez.

Sarahs December 26th 2011 | 8:20 PM

IT is not in the job making business - it is in the money making business - when will people get that!  It is not jobs vs the environment.   The planet is not a set of resources for humans to use  up.  It is an ecosystem that humans are destroying.

Erik December 27th 2011 | 3:03 AM

Short sighted logging projects like this are a devastating tragedy we naturalists, forest lovers, and realists are being faced with more and more every day. Canada has had over 150 years of sloppy, short sighted logging. Maybe its time to consider alternate, 'sustainable' methods of obtaining wood, that to not destroy our limited forests natural states.
As a local mycophile, botanist, husband and father, hearing tales of forests being killed and stolen hurts me like the loss of a loved one. If only I could project my pain onto those logging companies and loggers...

Where will I (we) teach my (our) children about the forest, if the forest is all destroyed?

Sharon J December 27th 2011 | 9:09 AM
BladeMcCool wrote:

It would be really unfortunate for the logging company if those trees all had chain link fence wrapped around them 10 years ago and have now grown over it ... embedded silently in the wood .. waiting for a chainsaw to snag on it.

The logging company probably could not care less, but the unfortunate worker who would either lose his arm and be unable to support his family or get killed would probably call it "unforturnate" indeed. It is this kind of thinking that takes the debate nowhere because you are happy to maim or kill someone. It does nothing for your credibility or for your side of the issue.

Stewart December 27th 2011 | 7:19 PM

Ironically, it is Brookfield Asset Management that owns the private park where Occupy Wall Street was given the boot from. Please correct me if I am wrong....  It seems like this might just be a form of retaliation on their part.  Maybe it's time to occupy Cortes Island.

Beezer December 27th 2011 | 8:20 PM

i'm devastated! 

sd December 27th 2011 | 8:20 PM

Stewart, this is a genius find. This is a very useful info that could help us bring this to the forefront.

 

Stewart wrote:

Ironically, it is Brookfield Asset Management that owns the private park where Occupy Wall Street was given the boot from. Please correct me if I am wrong....  It seems like this might just be a form of retaliation on their part.  Maybe it's time to occupy Cortes Island.

linda's picture
linda December 28th 2011 | 8:08 AM

They've been planning to log Cortes for more than two years now.  Zoe Miles waged a brilliant campaign against them.  MTV's The Buried Life did a great piece on her and the forest and Brookfield Asset Management's CEO Bruce Flatt. The segement ran.  35 million people watched it. And still they didn't change their plans.

This all pre-dates Occupy Wall Street.  It was interesting when Brookfield Asset Management's name emerged as the owners of Zucotti Park, where #OWS began.

I've been spending time on Cortes for thirty years and I used to naiively think the island was one big, magnificent park.  After moving there, I quickly understood that the trees were viewed by the corporations that owned them as product and units.

 

reed December 28th 2011 | 8:20 PM

not neccesary

Kristina Tova Ramer December 28th 2011 | 11:23 PM

Dear fellow humans, 

For the short term benefit of chopping down these trees, there is a very long term cost.  our humanity, clean air, wilderness habitat and dignity as evolving humans depends on saving places like this.  We can do without the fuel, wood or whatever else you are going to make from these beautiful trees.

Please, save them and find a way to benefit our planet by thinking of a bigger vision. 

 

Sincerely,

Tova Ramer

Kristina Tova Ramer December 28th 2011 | 11:23 PM

There can be no benefit from cutting down these trees that could surpass the dignity and beauty they provide us as human beings.

 

Do not succumb to your short term monetary thirst... instead, walk in these woods and listen to them.  There is much there to learn.

In Harmony,

 

Tova Ramer

Hazell December 29th 2011 | 10:10 AM
What can be done at this juncture? This is something that will be so regrettable...not acting will be the bigger regret....what can we do?
R Breyer December 29th 2011 | 1:13 PM
Carrie what do you care about Forest employment on Cortes . Your Treedom inc forest Company has yet to create a single sustainable forest job. Instead its all about residential development.. I remember Stan Meyers asking where your forest plan was some years ago.... Its never been presented to the Public nor Community. Logs are rotting on Cortes island because no one wants to buy them. Instead valuable forest trees are converted to firewood. Did you build your new house out of the Islands vast expanding stands of Diseased Hemlock.... The only ecomony for hemlock wood is to sell it off island. If your truly concerned about sustainasble forest jobs.... then quit shutting them down. The forest is not liquidated if its managed for sustainability and replanted. "Siskin Lane" liquidated the Childrens forest for a residential development.... Thats a fact... Quote=Carrie Saxifrage]

Brookfield Asset Management is  destroying long term employment in BC. When BAM bought Weyerhaeuser, it divided the assets into two companies: Island Timberlands to manage private managed forest land and Cascadia Forest Products to manage Crown land tenures and mills. The trees from Island Timberlands privately managed forest are exported to Asia and the US. Western Forest Products (in which Brookfield Asset Management is “a major player”) bought Cascadia Forest Products and closed Vancouver Island mills because, without the private managed forest lands, there weren’t enough logs to sustain it.

Long term employment comes from value-added processing of wood in BC, not in forest liquidation at the rate performed by Island Timberlands and not in “log and flog” schemes that turn forests into residential developments.

 

[/quote]
Colleen Linseman December 29th 2011 | 5:17 PM

Blessings to our alive Forest beings and animal kingdom, we love you so very much, you are our family and we WILL protect you!

jonathan January 4th 2012 | 10:22 PM

Get the job done, log the wood and build the roads quick and efficiently to deal woth as least civil disobiedience as possible. Good wood in that bit of land and the area has been logged for 100 years. The quicker the job is done the better, it's a contentious subject, Island Timberlands knows this and they will deal with it accordingly. Keep it safe and use feller-bunchers and processors wherever possible to prevent any human lost-time accidents. Theres good cubic metre rate on fir/hemlock/cedar right now, even Alder is getting good rate. Logging was happening in the Discovery Islands long before these chai-tea sipping hempgranola beatniks came to Cortes. Incidentally search Youtube for Quadra Island Logging, theres a great video showing local logging at work.

Keith Farnish January 7th 2012 | 1:01 AM
Good heads-up for this ongoing nature-rape; but petitions! No petition has ever achieved anything concrete that was not going to be done anyway. Two words. Earth First! And that's just one way. What's really needed in this case is for IT to no longer exist. That's possible too...