|Big Douglas-firs of Nanoose Bay Forest, photo: TJ Watt, TimesColonist|
The provincial government says that this forest is not of a high enough quality to qualify for protection. However, in an endangered ecosystem where only 1% is left in its natural state, you would think that any undeveloped forest would be a likely candidate for protection.
By the governments own admission, the Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem is among the top four most endangered ecosystems in Canada, the others being Manitoba’s Tallgrass Prairie, southern Ontario’s Carolinian Forest, and BC’s “Pocket Desert” near Osoyoos.
|Work done in DL 33 before protesters|
The province has had ample opportunity to protect the Nanoose Bay Forest because it (meaning 'we') already own the land. The importance of this threatened ecosystem has been voiced by a passionate and motivated public that has been pushing for protection for years.
Still, the province refuses to do the right thing, which would be to arrange funding for First Nations to develop sustainable industries, and save the 200 - 300 year old Douglas-firs.
When logging equipment rolled into the forest and big trees started to fall, protesters did what the province refused to do - halt the logging operation. But the forest occupation was short-lived as the band received a court injunction and enforcement order last Monday, so work recommenced.
The First Nations logging company cutting in the Nanoose Bay Forest says they will receive about $750,000 dollars from the proceeds of harvesting 15,000 cubic metres from a 64-hectare patch of the endangered old-growth coastal Douglas fir forest.
Economic development is important, but not when it is destructive and unsustainable. Surely there are better solutions than pushing an entire ecosystem, and its untold riches, closer to extinction.