Letter: Ban old growth logging

The remaining old growth that is left must not be cut down

Ban old growth logging

The Honourable John Horgan, Premier

The Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Lands, Forests, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

The Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society stand with Vancouver Island’s First Nations, the Sierra Club, the Ancient Forest Alliance, The Wilderness Committee, the Rainforest Flying Squad and many others in strongly opposing any logging of old growth trees. A two year deferral of a portion of TFL 46 is a start, but it is only a temporary and inadequate step. We understand that there are 11,800 hectares in this Tree Farm Licence and your deferral only applies to 2,000 of these hectares.

The remaining old growth that is left in the Fairy Creek watershed, Walbran Valley, on all of Vancouver Island and the rest of B.C. must not be cut down. Trees that are hundreds or even more than a thousand years old should remain to die, fall and be recycled into the forest floor. Dead wood in forests is an essential part of these ecosystems. The argument to log because old trees will rot and fall down is not a valid argument.

We are not against logging of second growth trees. We know that British Columbia depends on our forest industry and we appreciate the value of wood products. However, current forest practice which includes mass clear cutting is extremely damaging to whole watersheds where it occurs. Road building alone has severe consequences. One only has to witness the rapid rise of water levels and degrees of sedimentation in a river such as the Koksilah to realize the effects of large clear cuts. We have learned much recently by listening to many knowledgeable people. Kathy Code of Wildwood Ecoforest spoke in the Creatively United series of webinars and Heather Pritchard presented “Seeing Cowichan Forests beyond the Trees” at another recent event. We know we can do better to combat climate change and we know that we must act swiftly.

Another major concern regarding the industry is our current policy of shipping raw logs out of the province. We support the banning of this practice and development of more industry for manufactured wood products.

Another recent webinar series, “Reconciling Way of Knowing” reflects our growing understanding that knowledge from indigenous people must be incorporated into the knowledge acquired by non-indigenous science. This is an obvious way for all levels of colonial governments to participate in the reconciliation process.

We are encouraged to hear that a revamping of the forest industry is in the works, but we are extremely frustrated that it is taking so long to make these changes. This must happen faster. “A New Future For Old Forests” dated April 30, 2020 is now over a year old. We know it is possible for government to act faster on matters that are important. We know what needs to be done: immediate banning of all old growth logging throughout the whole province. It is a moratorium we need, not deferrals.

Gail Mitchell and Bruce Coates

Co-presidents, Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society