B.C. can realize forests’ potential

Re: “Trees are the solution that LNG will never be,” comment, Dec. 21.

It’s encouraging to see the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada and Wilderness Committee speaking with one voice.

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In our large province, a great deal can be accomplished by diverse users seeking common ground. Forests do different things better at different ages and conditions, especially with extended rotations (more than 100 years).

For example, young forests change rapidly and are occupied by generalist species such as deer, coyotes and rabbits adapted to these habitats. Old-growth forests are relatively stable, with specialist species such as mountain caribou, marten and spotted owls, which need old forests to survive.

The abandonment of the province’s forestry heritage began when the current forest-management system was established after the Second World War. H.R. MacMillan foresaw this decline. At the 1955-56 Sloan Royal Commission, MacMillan warned that unless B.C.’s forest policy was changed “the people of B.C. would have their birthright stolen, their standard of living reduced, their taxes increased and the forests that are the foundation of their present and future wealth destroyed.”

The good news is that with both short- and long-term thinking, wise governance, sound management and public support, forestry’s problems can be overcome and our natural and economic potential incrementally realized.

Fortunately, well-managed forests exist in Wisconsin (Menominee Native Americans) and Scandinavian countries. We can learn from them. A better B.C. forest future could start today.

Ray Travers, RPF (Ret.)

Victoria

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