That’s not long term log rotation

Long crop rotation is not what we see the private forest landowners doing on Vancouver Island.

In a letter to the editor ‘Log or develop’ (The NEWS, Feb. 19), Rod Bealing of the private forest landowners association writes: “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.”

No disagreement with that statement, however, long crop rotation is not what we see the private forest landowners doing on Vancouver Island.

The letter says “private forest land management in this region is over a long time rotation of perhaps 50 to 60 years.”

Fifty-60 years is not long term rotation, it is short term rotation, also termed “economic rotation,” and it is certainly not ecologically sustainable especially in sensitive ecosystems. Forest research papers show long term rotation to be over 150-200 years.

With so much of the private forest land being less than 100 years old, I wonder if Vancouver Island private forest landowners could even carry out long term rotation if they wanted to. To manage long-term, wouldn’t they have to to shut down the industry for the next 100 years?

Starting in 2004, extensive deregulation of forest practices on private forest lands seem to contradict Bealing’s claims of a “regulatory regime and modern progressive stewardship practices on B.C.’s private managed forest lands.”

We can see all around us and in our community watersheds the clear cuts everywhere, some in various stages starting from one-year-old plantations to perhaps 80-100 year-old plantations, in various stages of forest recovery.

Vancouver and Victoria were clever to gain ownership of their watersheds many years ago.

Every community on Vancouver Island should own their watersheds in order to have input and control to sustainably manage for timber, wildlife, and most importantly for water.

Ronda MurdockParksville

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