The Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston and Chief Forester Shane Berg are in Prince George on Friday and James Steidle of Stop the Spray BC is demanding a meeting to discuss the war on deciduous that is setting us up for catastrophic failure in the future.
“It is clear that our forestry institutions, from the professional association to the highest levels of bureaucracy, even our Forest Practices Board, are in complete denial about the failures of plantation forestry and the harm of anti-deciduous forestry policy,” said Steidle.
The last time government made an attempt to assess the diversity of replanted forests was in 2008 and it found a 9% increase in monocultures since 1987, according to the Forest and Range Enhancement Project Report #14. Given the intensification of logging, spraying, brushing, and pine-dominated reforestation, this has likely grown significantly worse. But nobody is monitoring it.
“You can drive down the Blackwater to Quesnel and you will see a sea of pine plantations. It wasn’t all pine before. We probably have more pine on the landscape than we did prior to the pine beetle,” says Steidle. “And yet the story we are told is that everything is fine, that the Ministry has it under control.”
Douglas fir stands are being replaced with pine, acknowledged in a 2020 Forest Practices Board Report, and the same is likely happening with spruce, aspen and birch.
“Central to the simplification of our forests is the war on aspen, cottonwood and birch. The rules are draconian and extreme. They require a minimum of 95% conifer domination and have no requirements to maintain any deciduous patches for fire-breaks, moose habitat, cattle range, biodiversity, or their vastly superior albedo and carbon sequestration for climate change mitigation.”
“Aspen and birch can fight off pine and allow spruce and douglas fir a chance to come in underneath, to mix up the age and species classes, to create resiliency. Forestry doesn’t understand this. All they see is a computer model that demands maximum conifer production to maintain the maximum level of clearcutting we are seeing today, which, as we’ve seen, has not been sustainable and is failing our communities and our workers. Pine is cheap, quick, and reliable to replant and they are using it to juice up their illegitimate models of landscape liquidation and conversion, ignoring the massive risk calculation it involves.”
“Covering landscapes with intensive pine plantations, and spruce plantations in the wet zones, will benefit nobody if they all burn or get hit with a resurging pine or spruce beetle. We have learned nothing from the past apparently.”
Forest Minister Bruce Ralston will be addressing the Association of BC Forestry Professionals at 9AM on Friday. Regardless if the meeting happens or not, Steidle will be outside with signage to make sure the message gets through.
Stop the Spray BC