Wednesday July 19, 2017 



Controlled Burning vs. Clear-Cutting

Is industrial logging killing BC?

Betty Krawczyk, Cumberland/Handout photo



hy are BC Forests going up in smoke and fire? Is it climate change? A natural phenomena? Yes and no, but mostly no.


It is primarily bad forest management, originating in the practice of industrial clear-cut logging. This practice has been agreed to by all levels of government and judiciary in BC (and the federal court) in order not to annoy the international logging companies. Dr. Lori Daniels, Associate Professor in the UBC Faculty of Forestry, (also runs the Tree Ring lab) in an interview to E-KNOW:

"In the past 60 years, despite warmer temperatures, fires essentially were eliminated from many forests due to very effective fire suppression," she said. "In the absence of fire, tree density and fuels can build-up, increasing the chance of a severe fire."


Dr. Daniels believes that by trying to protect our forests and communities from surface fires that clear the forests of a buildup of combustible materials, we simply make the possibility of severe fires, like the ones sweeping our province at the moment not only possible, but predictable.

And who is most adamant about the suppression of any fire, even the ones needed to clear the forests of flammable materials of dry undergrowth and dead forest debris? In order to avoid the horrendous damages as the ones occurring now? Of course, the industrial logging companies.


The needed surface fires, as First Nations people knew and practiced, were forbidden by the industrial logging companies as this might cause some loss of trees that would hinder their bottom line. Dr. Daniels continues: "We made a decision decades ago that fire had only negative effects on the forest and we valued the forests for economic reasons…"

Aw, those economic reasons of the industrial logging companies that now leave our province a tinderbox! Parks Canada ecologist Donna Crossland of Nova Scotia in speaking of clear-cutting in relation to forest fires: “Fire does not remove the trunk wood of living trees, but clear cutting and biomass harvests are removing nearly everything…so it’s a false claim that clear-cuts approximate natural disturbances…” She adds that clear-cutting also contributes to the depletion of carbon in Nova Scotia soils, and that 60 percent of soils in that province are nutrient depleted.

When the BC fires currently raging finally die down, the one good thing that could come from this is a closer look at how clear-cutting by industrial logging is killing our forests and severely damaging our province. I haven’t forgotten Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin. Her rulings on when and how protesters must be arrested played such an important role in my activist life (and the life of this province) I can’t believe I misspelled her name in my last posting, for which I apologize.



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