The British Columbia Forest Service is about to approve a cutting permit to allow the Nanoose First Nation to begin logging at District Lot 33 in Nanoose, reports Berni Pearce of the Arrowsmith Parks and Land-Use Council (APLUC). District Lot 33 is a contentious local crown land parcel, one of the last-remaining mature samples of the threatened Coastal Douglas fir (CDF) forest, an ecosystem whose extinction has been a topic of the Forest Practices Board in three reports from 2005 to 2010.
The situation is approaching a climax, reports APLUC, who are concerned and anxious that logging is now imminent. They have been told by Calvin Ross, District Manager of the BC Forest Service, that “after a two week review, logging can proceed.”
Recently, 35 high-profile environmental scientists in B.C. have written to the Premier asking for effective legislation to improve the protection of B.C.’s species at risk. “If our most senior scientists are concerned about protecting habitat at risk for extinction, we all should be,” said APLUC member Berni Pearce. “The Coastal Douglas fir forest is home to the greatest variety of plants and animals among all the ecosystems in the province. The scientists tell us that more than one in three of the 4,000 species assessed by the province is under threat. Yet so far the government seems prepared to let the crown land remnants of CDF forest go down,” said Pearce.
The Forest Practices Board, the government-appointed forest watchdog, has warned that even after the government’s recent CDF land use order, the Coastal Douglas fir biogeoclimatic zone remains “at high risk for extinction”. The June 2010 FPB report on the state of CDF protection says in part: “In 2005 and 2007, scientists advised government that the CDF is at high risk and that ecosystem viability there is unlikely to persist…Government did not abide by its commitment not to issue new forest tenure in the CDF pending establishment of a land use objective…In the Board’s opinion, harvesting mature or old forest in the CDF, such as that found in good condition on DL 33, is not consistent with a vision of overall ecosystem integrity.”
Pearce speculates that unless MLA Cantelon steps in with a solution, logging will proceed at DL 33. “It’s not too late for government to save the Coastal Douglas fir ecosystem and stop the logging – if it chooses to do so”, said Pearce. APLUC will meet this week with MLA Cantelon and will sponsor a public meeting in the next few weeks to talk about the CDF at District Lot 33 and to present to the public a proposed solution intended to compensate First Nations and save the CDF ecosystem. In the meantime, the WCWC will continue indefinitely its popular weekly public tours every Saturday, plus other special tours as requested. For more information call Berni Pearce at 250-248-8464 or Ronda Murdock 250-248-3667.