Open Letter to BC Ministers
Dear Ministers Bell and Thomson:
Re: Mid-Term Timber Supply Project
Our organizations understand that a report is now in your hands which considers logging in reserves and areas designated for non-timber values to temporarily increase wood supply in pine beetle affected Timber Supply Areas.
Opening up reserves and view corridors for logging to fill timber supply shortfalls will have a long term effect on the environment without a long term benefit to communities. While the action might extend the life of a mill for a relatively short time it would undermine, for the better part of a century or more, the benefits these areas were set aside for, whether for tourism or for habitat, soil retention or water flow regulation. These designations continue to be at least equally important in areas hard hit by the Mountain Pine Beetle and with already significantly increased rates of logging over the past few years, to ensure at least partial environmental services provided by forests.
There are five key dangers to moving precipitously to fill timber supply shortfalls in this way:
1. Undermines an already inadequate level of conservation for species, habitat and maintenance of ecosystem services in an era of climate change
2. Reinforces a culture and expectation that supports unsustainable activities for the provision of short term economic benefit
3. Undermines the decades of scientific input and public process that went into establishing the reserves
4. Negatively impacts existing business who rely on visual and recreational values of these areas and leaves communities with even less resources within which to diversify their economy after the timber supply from the reserves has been exhausted
5. Sets an alarming precedent with respect to other provincial commitments to lasting legal protection for environmental values following land use planning processes.
The undersigned organizations feel there is no good that will come from engaging the suggestion of opening up logging in reserves and view corridors. These areas have taken decades to be legally established after significant review and scientific input. We suggest instead that the Province move quickly to help the community in Burns Lake and other impacted communities to identify sustainable economic options for economic development.
Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law
Valerie Langer, Director BC Forest Conservation, ForestEthics Solutions
George Heyman, Executive Director, Sierra Club BC
Chloe O'Loughlin, Director of Terrestrial Conservation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - BC Chapter
Dr. Faisal Moola, Director, Terrestrial Conservation and Science Program, David Suzuki Foundation
John Bergenske, Executive Director, Wildsight
Stephanie Goodwin, BC Director & Forest Campaign Coordinator, Greenpeace Canada
TJ Watt, Campaigner, Ancient Forest Alliance
Amanda Carr, Campaign Director, Canopy
Joe Scott, International Programs Director, Conservation Northwest