Applaud council for work towards forestry strategy
I attended the Municipality of North Cowichan’s special council meeting on Wednesday, July 3 because the Forestry Advisory Committee recommendations about blow down harvesting, living tree harvesting, and UBC collaboration were on the agenda.
Mayor Siebring facilitated public input, council dialogue, probing questions, decision making, and public question period giving everyone the opportunity to be heard and understood.
Council supported the collaboration with UBC, 3Green Consulting, and the Coastal Douglas Fir Partnership to develop a sustainable forestry management plan for implementation on Jan. 1, 2022. There will be collaboration on an interim forestry management strategy from Sept. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021 as well. Though I wish it would start tomorrow, I support taking the time to do a thorough job.
I applaud council for upholding the “promise” made last February to allow only the harvest of blowdown and necessary living trees for safe removal purposes in the interim.
By attending meetings, talks, and forestry walks, I am educating myself about forest ecology. I love that the distinction between a tree plantation and a living forest is being widely recognized. However, there are many grey areas, for example, the harvest of blow down. There is support for the traditional practices of removal of blow down because it offers habitat for harmful insects and is potentially a fire hazard. There is also the fact that large debris left on the forest floor retains moisture and acts as “nurse logs”. I witnessed the latter on a tour of Wildwood on Sunday, June 30. There was a moss covered nurse log that had maple, Douglas fir, hemlock, huckleberry, ferns and a multitude of other species growing on it.
Treatment and rebuilding of the soil will be integral to many of the forestry practices employed. Fundamental principles such as this must be explored with the goal toward a unified vision before strategies can be developed.
I hope North Cowichan will find effective ways to educate themselves and the public about advances in forestry thoughts and practices so we can make wise and far-reaching decisions and keep our fears in check.