Letter: Saving municipial forests a good investment

Clear cutting forests and so-called reforestation have immeasurable destructive factors

Saving municipial forests a good investment

Public consultation regarding the management of the Municipality of North Cowichan’s owned forest reserve begins this week. Participate in the survey!

For decades the beautiful backdrop to our valley, the six mountains that are owned by MNC have been managed with a top-down management plan. This means the decisions made to use our forests as tree farms were made by the politicians/mayor and councillors. These decisions were allowed and have resulted in the back side of our six mountains to be clear cut. Why? Because they were out of sight!

Now, and due to an outspoken woman, Icel Dobell, who started a movement of citizens to protest the clear cutting and demanded the stoppage of logging, while a review of the management of our forest’s best use, be conducted, there is the beginning of a bottom-up management. An investment into sustainability.

What does bottom-up management of our forests mean? It means that citizens, residents, taxpayers, First Nations are seriously consulted and given the right to decide how our forests will be used for the long-term benefit of the people who are living here now and our children and grandchildren.

Our forest management practices for decades have been typical of colonialist practices of the exploitation of nature. Clear cutting forests and so-called reforestation have immeasurable destructive factors. There are the obvious consequences like flooding, river beds filling with gravel, mountain soil erosion, loss of fish and wildlife. Then there are the not so obvious ancient plants and underground networks of life that connect all living things in the mountains and the valley, that can be lost forever. Our watersheds, our existing, standing, healthy, naturally working forests are the most important entity to the sustainability of our valley!

Consider this one question. If the front side, the side of the mountains that we enjoy looking at every day, maybe even walk on some of the trails, if those second growth 60 and 80 year old trees were clear cut in huge blocks, what affect will this have on you and those you leave behind?

Investing in the rejuvenation of our natural forests is an investment we won’t regret.

Bryan Senft

North Cowichan