BC Environmental non-profits raise the alarm about proposed logging of environmental reserves

  • Published on Apr 23 2012 |
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BC environmental non-profit organizations have raised the alarm about proposed logging of environmental reserves in pine beetle affected areas. The text of the letter sent to Ministers Steve Thompson and Pat Bell appears below.

April 19, 2012

Honourable Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
PO Box 9071 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC, V8W 9E9

Honourable Pat Bell
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
P.O. Box 9049, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC, V8W 9E2

Dear Ministers Bell and Thomson:
Re: Mid-Term Timber Supply Project

Our organizations understand that a report is now in your hands which considers logging in reserves and areas designated for non-timber values to temporarily increase wood supply in pine beetle affected Timber Supply Areas.

Opening up reserves and view corridors for logging to fill timber supply shortfalls will have a long term effect on the environment without a long term benefit to communities. While the action might extend the life of a mill for a relatively short time it would undermine, for the better part of a century or more, the benefits these areas were set aside for, whether for tourism or for habitat, soil retention or water flow regulation. These designations continue to be at least equally important in areas hard hit by the Mountain Pine Beetle and with already significantly increased rates of logging over the past few years, to ensure at least partial environmental services provided by forests.

There are five key dangers to moving precipitously to fill timber supply shortfalls in this way:

1. Undermines an already inadequate level of conservation for species, habitat and maintenance of ecosystem services in an era of climate change
2. Reinforces a culture and expectation that supports unsustainable activities for the provision of short term economic benefit
3. Undermines the decades of scientific input and public process that went into establishing the reserves
4. Negatively impacts existing business who rely on visual and recreational values of these areas and leaves communities with even less resources within which to diversify their economy after the timber supply from the reserves has been exhausted
5. Sets an alarming precedent with respect to other provincial commitments to lasting legal protection for environmental values following land use planning processes.

The undersigned organizations feel there is no good that will come from engaging the suggestion of opening up logging in reserves and view corridors. These areas have taken decades to be legally established after significant review and scientific input. We suggest instead that the Province move quickly to help the community in Burns Lake and other impacted communities to identify sustainable economic options for economic development.

Yours truly,

Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law

Valerie Langer, Director BC Forest Conservation, ForestEthics Solutions

George Heyman, Executive Director, Sierra Club BC

Chloe O'Loughlin, Director of Terrestrial Conservation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - BC Chapter

Dr. Faisal Moola, Director, Terrestrial Conservation and Science Program David Suzuki Foundation

John Bergenske, Executive Director, Wildsight

Stephanie Goodwin, BC Director & Forest Campaign Coordinator, Greenpeace Canada

TJ Watt, Campaigner, Ancient Forest Alliance

Amanda Carr, Campaign Director, Canopy

Joe Scott, International Programs Director, Conservation Northwest