Maintaining B.C.’s older forests protects ecological diversity

Mr. Fletcher completely misses the point on plans to relax rules protecting old-growth management zones and wildlife corridors.

Dear Editor:

Regarding Tom Fletcher’s article “Forest Jobs won’t wait for 2013” published in the Lakes District News edition of May 2, 2012.

The whole point of the article is to promote jobs using confusing and bogus arguments that purposely downplay environmental and social values, especially old growth and wildlife corridors.

Mr. Fletcher’s premise that relaxing old growth management zones and wildlife corridors is not as drastic as it sounds given that those areas are already dead completely misses the point and importance of these zones.

The purpose of old growth management zones and wildlife corridors is to try and maintain some diversity of forest structure within replanted forests (plantations).

In our area forests do not get as old as on the coast but they do get older than the short rotations being managed in plantations.

The need to maintain some portion of older forest, whether dead or alive, is extremely important to ecological diversity.

Also, wildlife corridors provide the connectivity needed so that genetic material within the forest can be more easily distributed through plantations to islands of older forest, dead or alive.

Older established economies like Sweden, Germany, Norway are all realizing that over centuries they have simplified their forests and lost much natural diversity and are now managing for more ecologically diverse forests.

Mr. Fletcher also suggests subsidizing the harvest of dead trees and that this would support harvest and hauling of healthy saw logs along with them.

This may be the case but be reminded that harvesting of mature live trees and removal of dead trees in stands with a healthy understory of immature trees will seriously impact the recovery of our midterm timber supply, which is already in doubt due to the provinces inadequate forest inventory.

Concrete steps need to be taken with good monitoring, to ensure that we have some trees left to harvest in 30 or 40 years.

Yes, jobs are important.

But lets us be more critical in our evaluation of the costs and benefits.

The benefits are today, the costs will be with us for generations.

Gunter Hoehne