Letter: Forests critical natural infrastructure

If it neglects the natural infrastructure, not the last “unprecedented” event we will witness

Forests critical natural infrastructure

After the devastating rains that caused flooding and loss throughout B.C., the overwhelming feelings of grief will be compounded by the urgent need to clean up, restore and replace what the flood waters took away.

It took less than two days to bring a virtual halt to the infrastructure we rely on to bring goods and services to our communities. Rebuilding will cost billions and take months, if not years to accomplish.

The supply chain that we took for granted is now seen for what it really is: a fragile web that can be taken down by an “act of nature”.

But long before this storm, another web has been slowly and relentlessly dismantled by those who care more for profit than for the only supply chain that sustains us all: the natural world.

If anyone had doubted climate science before this year, the heat dome, forest fires and now floods surely have caused them to rethink their position.

Here in Youbou, in the territory of the Coast Salish people, we are surrounded by the forests that are a critical part of the natural infrastructure.

Forests capture, store, filter and slowly release water into the creeks, lake and river. Forests are the birthplace of the vital watersheds that sustain life in the streams, creeks, lake and river and estuaries.

A diverse, intact forest is a powerful ally against the effects of climate change. It can prevent forest fires from raging unchecked. It can prevent floods and slides.

The B.C. government will be spending billions on the infrastructure needed to keep society running; if it neglects the natural infrastructure, this will not be the last “unprecedented” event we will witness in our lifetimes.

Mosaic Forest Management will be logging the last intact forested area in Youbou and Meade Creek in the hills above Cowichan Lake. They must rethink their practices. They have to begin to restore the countless clear cuts to the more resilient forests that are so necessary right now. And if they don’t do it on their own, the government must compel them to do it!

Karen Deck