2/20/2012

Province Saves Trees, But Loses The Forest

Avatar Grove ancient trees placed in expanded Old Growth Management Area by province
Port Renfrew's Avatar Grove has been saved - for now, sort of. The rare old growth forest will be included in an expanded Old Growth Management Area (OGMA), which means no logging or mining. However, it is one step short of the legislated protection of full park designation.

Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group, which had surveyed and taped the Avatar trees for destruction when Ancient Forest Alliance members discovered them two years ago, will be compensated with an equal area of... what? That's right - old growth trees. And where will they come from? A different OGMA. Net savings of old growth - zero.

At the same time as Forests Minister Steve Thomson was announcing the quasi-protection of this rare group of trees including some over 1000 years old, the provincial Auditor General was slamming the province for losing their grip on the province's forestry resources.

Ancient mossy cedar in Avatar Grove
John Doyle's report titled An Audit of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ Management of Timber, revealed that things are not as rosy in timberland as the government would like you to think.

While the province may have saved the Avatar Grove trees, they have lost control of the province's forests.
“The audit concludes the B.C. government failed to properly monitor and maintain B.C.’s timber supply and hasn’t properly replanted the forests.
The report concludes the provincial government failed to halt the drop in timber supply and the loss of species diversity.
Doyle says the government has done very limited replanting, even though many areas of B.C.’s forests have been damaged by wildfires and pine beetles.
He concludes that the government has a small window of time in which to turn the province’s forestry future around.” - CBC
Our forests, globally, are being decimated for immediate profit with absolutely no regard for future generations and their needs, and BC is a prime exploiter. What Doyle's audit means is that pine beetle-damaged areas and clear cuts are likely to remain Not Satisfactorily Restocked. We are in danger of 'running out' of healthy, functioning forests.

There is no long term plan for BC's spectacular ancient forests, except to exploit them to extinction, then hope for the best. We need to make immediate changes toward ecosystem-based, sustainable forestry that balances the needs of people with the needs of the forest and its glorious biodiversity.

Avatar forest with old growth Western red-cedar, Grand Fir, and Douglas-fir
Tell the government you do not want them to squander BC's ecological wonders - its mighty forests. Tell them you want, "Forests For The Future!"

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