(With files by Darin Bain-MyPGNow)
Stop the Spray BC’s James Steidle is demanding a meeting with BC’s Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston and Chief Forester Shane Berg.
Steidle said there needs to be a serious discussion on the reforestation policies, as well as forest diversity around town.
“We’re reducing the diversity of our forests, we’re getting way more pine trees out there than we had even when the pine beetle hit us,” Steilde explained.
“Actually that’s just a guess, we actually don’t know, we haven’t been monitoring the diversity of our forests since 2008.”
Steidle said he’d like to see more Douglas fir, spruce, aspen, birch, and cottonwood trees planted in the area.
“Right now we actually plant Douglas fir, spruce, but a lot of the times they die, they don’t grow very well, they actually like to grow with the deciduous,” he explained.
“When we get rid of the deciduous, we basically give a free hand to the pine trees and then the pine trees end up dominating the cut blocks after logging. If you drive to Quesnel down the Blackwater Road, you’ve got just a sea of pine plantations between ten and 40 years old. We’re just setting ourselves up for more pests, for more fire, for more vulnerability.”
Steidle added that pine trees are being planted because they’re the quickest and easiest to grow.
“My question is what’s the point of that if we’re more likely to lose them to wildfire? What’s the point of covering our landscape with highly productive plantations if we’re going to have higher vulnerability and higher risk?” he said.
“The economic benefits of having things like aspen patches and birch patches is they can help our forests survive better, and survivability’s a big issue right now.”
Steidle said he was at the Association of BC Forest Professionals Forestry Conference and AGM last night (Wednesday) speaking with Foresters.
“Nearly all the Foresters agree with us, we’re not out here to criticize the Foresters or the work they’re trying to do,” he explained.
“The problem is we have government that refuses to changes the stocking standards and that’s what I want to have a meeting with the Chief Forester and the Forest Minister to talk about, because I think there’s widespread agreement that they need to change.”
Steidle said he will be at the conference again tomorrow morning with signage to ensure the message gets through, if the meeting with the Minister and Chief Forester does not happen.
Ralston will be providing remarks virtually during the conference.