Claim B.C. not managing forests sustainably is false
I get it that election campaigns are times when we hear exaggerations and half-truths but most of the recent Trump-like statements from MLA and Green party leader Sonya Furstenau about forestry and sustainability in B.C. are simply wrong. I have spent half a century managing temperate and tropical rainforests during my career as a forest professional.
It was after the Second World War following a B.C. Royal Commission that timber harvest levels were brought under control and a science-based system of calculating logging rates was established all over B.C. That system has continually been updated and improved over the past 70 years. The fact that B.C. still has significant reserves of old forests is testament to the effectiveness of these early conservation measures.
The turbulent B.C. War in the Woods of the 1990s was a time of further major changes in sustainable forestry practices in B.C. and creation of hundreds of new protected areas with old growth forests. The BC Forest Practices Board was established then as an independent watchdog of what was happening in our forests and continues its good work today. During that period independent certification of forests was also an outcome of the World Environment Conference in Rio de Janeiro that I participated in.
While voluntary, the certification of forests was based on sustainability principles, ecosystem based management and addressing social issues such as indigenous consent and was quickly adopted by many jurisdictions including B.C. Regular follow up reviews and detailed on-site inspections are rigorous and focus on continuous improvement. You can buy certified timber products from B.C.’s sustainable forests including First Nations owned operations which now comprise more than 10 per cent of B.C.’s timber harvests.
Today most of B.C.’s private and public forests and forest management are certified to one of three international standards based systems — a key success achievement for British Columbia that we can be very proud of. In fact there are more independently certified forests in Canada than any other country globally and B.C. leads the way. Of course there is always room for improvement based on society’s changing views but the claim that B.C. is not managing its forests sustainably is not correct.
W.E. (Bill) Dumont