Logging of pristine BC island forest to begin in January by Brookfield Asset Management
- 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 BC; complaints 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.
Protect Cortes Forests:
- BAM CEO Bruce Flatt: send to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- IT CEO Dashan Sihota: send to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Reform private forest land management:
- Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Premier Christy Clark: email@example.com.
Graph below: Forest Management for Global Shareholders
Read more Vancouver Observer coverage of this issue:
- MTV's The Buried Life, Zoe Miles and corporate behemoth Brookfield Asset Management stand off over trees
- MTV "Avatars" follow Zoe Miles to Brookfield Asset Management
- Will Brookfield Asset Management trash a beloved Cortes forest for cash? Linda Solomon interviews Zoe Miles: video
- Sending a message to Brookfield Asset Management on Bay Street: "Hands off BC's last old growth trees"