To the editor,

The RMG’s ‘Carbon Vault’ article held several errors, not in Andrea’s excellent writing but in Liam Parfitt’s ecological understanding. He mentions harvesting the Teare Creek fire’s charred standing aspen. He thinks their removal will enhance low shrubs and berries and thus provide habitat for moose. This is flawed ecological logic.

What happens when aspen is burned is that a massive habitat refuge for post-fire flora and fauna reintroduction occurs. I have spent several days walking in Teare Creek’s burn, noticing bear, fox, and coyote tracks, plenty of ungulate sign (3 species), and witnessing sizable herds of two different species. The basal shoots and budding tops from charred maple and willow shrubs and poplar and birch trees all have been browsed to some extent.

The prime ecological key from the burnt aspens, though, is in their cavities, which are much more present than in charred conifer remains. These cavities hold immense ecological benefits for birds, bats, owls, squirrels, woodpeckers, insects, spiders, etc. These species initiate upward trends in ecological nutrient cycling, including prey for larger predators and the seeding of new berries and shrubs which Parfitt is fond of for moose food.

As the poplar and other post-fire remains drop, they occasionally pile into masses impenetrable to ungulates, true, however, these messy areas provide ideal refuge for hare, lynx, martin, and other smaller mammals, as well as a safe zone from intensive browsing on the post-fire recovery of deciduous shoots into shrubs and trees. Not all of the forest falls so densely; Ungulates habitually walk around and jump over such things, so there is no great reduction in their habitat as the rest of the forest recovers.

Logging the mountain’s benches, as Parfitt suggests, will disrupt the predator-prey balance by providing thoroughfares for wolves to access the burnt grove’s heart.

Parfitt’s thinking concerning post-fire ecological recovery is extremely flawed. At worst is a page out of the industrial playbook, where the prevailing belief is that if it doesn’t have immediate economic value in the form of pulp, pellets, or board feet in the big mills, it should be liquidated into some new commodity, or burnt as slash.  Freya Logging Inc, Parfitt’s company, created massive slash piles in the Lower Raush in 2022 which were subsequently burned releasing all the stored carbon to the atmosphere.  The future economics here, however, is in the hands of the ecological processes, not in commodification, and certainly not in the green-washed carbon shell game that dominates his new thought pattern.

Rob Mercereau,

Dunster B.C