Log or develop?

As private landowners committed to responsible forest stewardship, we find Lynne Brookes’ letter curious.

As private landowners committed to responsible forest stewardship, we find Lynne Brookes’ letter to the editor (‘Log responsibly,’ The NEWS, Feb. 12) criticizing private land forest management practices curious. While we wholeheartedly agree that the protection of wetlands and riparian area function are important issues in our region, we take offense with her characterization of land “development and logging” as contributing to the loss of “important wetlands.”

Compared to alternate land uses, sustainable forest management over long crop rotations is an extremely low impact use of land — possibly the lowest impact of any use mankind makes of land. Private land forest management in this region involves the carefully planned and regulated harvest of timber crops in small openings periodically over a long time rotation of perhaps 50 to 60 years. The harvested timber is used to make high-quality building products to provide shelter for humanity.

On the other hand, development of land for residential, commercial or industrial purposes means a less natural landscape available for other community objectives. These more intensive uses of land are necessary to support our society, but it is important that we remain vigilant in ensuring that we continue to work toward lessening the environmental footprint of our growing communities.

Since there is clearly a very significant difference in risks and impacts between careful forest stewardship and alternate land uses, it is understandable why there might be a difference between the regulatory regime that applies to activities undertaken on Managed Forest land, and activities undertaken on residential, commercial, or industrial land.

Contrary to Brookes’ comments, the regulatory regime and modern progressive stewardship practices on B.C.’s private managed forest lands provide robust protection of fish and wildlife habitat, and water quality. As stewards of our private lands, B.C.’s forest owners work very hard to balance environment, community and commercial values. We are good neighbours with a strong history and a long-term vision of responsible stewardship, committed to investing in growing timber crops for the future.

Consider how thoughtful commercial forest stewardship balances our mutually shared goals of environment, community and economic activity entirely at the cost of the owner. …Then consider the alternatives.

Rod Bealing, Executive Director, Private Forest Landowners Assoc.Sooke

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