Time for a new Forest Act?

Re.: Taryn Skalbania’s letter Reconsider clear cuts (Castanet, Nov 15)

Taryn Skalbania begins her Nov. 15 letter with three excellent questions: "I have to ask B.C.’s premier and all MLAs why we continue to clear cut our proven first line of defence against mudslides, floods and climate change? Will the already subsidized forestry industry pitch in for the collateral damages? Will the rock bottom stumpage we receive from clear cut salvage logging our crown forests pay for externalities?"

I have three additional questions:

1. About what percentage of the recent B.C. flooding was due to clearcut logging?

2. Why isn't B.C. Forests Minister Katrine Conroy joining Premier John Horgan, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Transportation Minister Rob Fleming at press briefings?

3. Is it time for a new Forest Act?

Back in March, in response to the catastrophic flood of 2018, the citizens group Boundary Forest Watershed Stewardship Society said in a media release that they have undertaken a project to reform forestry practices in their watershed and turn forest management over to local citizens.

The group's report identified how forest management is playing a role in flooding, damaging the environment and resulting in a decline in jobs.

“The new Forest Act must enshrine in law a new concept of sustainability that puts ecosystem integrity and resilience above all else,” said board member Jennifer Houghton.

In a recent interview, Dr. Peter Wood, conservationist and forest management expert, said the connection between the logging industry and what is unfolding in B.C. cannot be denied.

He referenced a 2019 UBC study that found logging can result in up to a four-fold increase in the frequency of large floods. (Nonstationary frequency pairing reveals a highly sensitive peak flow regime to harvesting across a wide range of return periods by XuJian Joe Yu and Younes Alila).

Wood is the author of a February 2021 report, written in partnership with Sierra Club B.C., on the relationship between forest management and severe climate impacts: Intact Forests, Safe Communities.

David Buckna, Kelowna

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