Forests on ALR land is the wrong direction

Forests are great.

We think there should be more selective and sustainable logging and less of the clearcutting that is still the staple of industry practice here in British Columbia where to this day, in the face of loads of evidence to the contrary, we tend to think that forestry will be forever, even if we do nothing to make that true.

Shipping out raw logs so that the secondary and tertiary jobs are elsewhere is not the only shortsighted thing we continue to do.

We don’t tend to be that great at changing with the times and getting into the vanguard of what’s new and better.

We still tend to cling to the old until there’s no choice but to take the leap.

But one direction we’ve moved in, one change that’s crept up on us, isn’t a positive one and needs to be reversed immediately.

As we reported in Friday’s Agriculture and Food edition of the Citizen in Kevin Rothbauer’s story titled “California crisis chance to think local food”, there’s been a quiet move afoot by some international corporations to buy up farmland in the Interior of the province and, instead of using it as such, planting trees on it, in a deeply cynical bid to be able to say “look at our carbon offsets.”

There’s no thought at all that this is drastically decreasing the agricultural land base.

That would be our ongoing ability to feed ourselves, to be crystal clear.

Obviously tree plantations to slap a green coat of paint on a multinational corporation’s image was never what was intended for Agricultural Land Reserve land. In fact, it’s the antithesis of what the Land Reserve was created to do: protect farmland.

These corporations choose the farmland for their PR ventures for the very same reason that farmland was disappearing at such a rapid rate into the hands of developers.

The land is already cleared, usually fairly flat or gently sloped and therefore easy to use without having to put money into preparing the ground, literally.

The exact same reasons it’s so important to preserve as farmland, of course.

It’s even harder to swallow the actions of these opportunists when we learn that actual forest land, since logged, is decades behind required and promised replanting.

The letter of the law is being followed, but the spirit of it is being flagrantly flouted.

Fortunately, both the provincialLiberal government (though they seem a little behind in responding to this impending crisis) and the NDP opposition seem to be in accord on this matter.

Means we should get some quick results, right?

We’re holding you to it, guys.