Opposing realities debate forest protection

Re: “Base old-growth debate on facts, not emotions,” comment, Nov. 1.

 

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The commentary misses the point of the public discussion on Vancouver Island’s remaining old-growth forests.

Of the unprotected old-growth forest on Vancouver Island only seven per cent remains of the original, productive, old-growth forest below 300 metres elevation on slopes under 17 per cent and outside parks, old-growth management areas, wildlife habitat areas and other reserves.

This is what the public wants to preserve from logging. They are not particularly concerned with mountain hemlock and other types of old growth.

The question is: “What is the per cent area of original, productive, old-growth forest below 300 metres elevation on slopes under 17 per cent that is protected on Vancouver Island in parks, old-growth management areas, wildlife habitat areas, and other reserves?”

Using one of the most complete datasets available for Vancouver Island, a GIS specialist and biologist ran the analysis to answer this question. Only six per cent is protected.

So, the Association of B.C. Forest Professionals has to recognize the two valid realities talking across each other and what the parties to these two realities are advocating: The industrial/government reality advocating logging of the few remaining unprotected giant, ancient forests and the public reality advocating protection of them.

A small scientific panel from the University of Victoria tasked by government to look at how much original old-growth forest is protected and how much remains for each type of major ecosystem, and to make recommendations to resolve the conflict, might best arbitrate these opposing realities.

 

Anthony Britneff, RPF (ret.)

Victoria

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