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  • As California, too, gets schmucked by an atmospheric river, an appeal to BC's Chief Forester Shane Berg

    Fred Marshall

    The atmospheric river of November 2021 in BC caused at least $6 billion in damage. Over-exploitation of BC forests amplified this climate-change-induced effect. Will BC’s new chief forester ignore the threat over-logging presents in this new era of climate instability? Or reduce the cut?



    An intense low pressure area off the coast of California was pumping an atmospheric river toward the state on January 4, 2023.


    Good morning Shane:

    The entire world, including British Columbia, has been and continues to be, subject to climatic events that cause millions to billions of dollars of damage and the tragic loss of an ever increasing number of human lives.

    It is irresponsible for anyone, especially a high-ranking government official such as yourself, who has significant say and control over how BC’s forests are managed, to refuse to make appropriate allowances for both past and future events.

    Such measures/allowances should include a judicious mix of the following:

    • Prescribing various silviculture measures such as limiting the size and extent of cut-blocks across the landscape.

    • Reducing the extent of roads present on the landscape by properly deactivating old ones and limiting the extent of new ones.

    • Reducing the allowable annual cut (AAC) in BC to truly sustainable levels including all associated values such as fish, wildlife, water, soil, aesthetics, old growth so all are appropriately protected and any and all species at risk can be and are managed so they are removed from the “At Risk” list in a timely manner. No more should ever be added to it.

    • Appropriately considering the cumulative impacts upon the landscape which have significantly changed the natural makeup and nature of the landscapes across BC and reduced its natural resistance to climatic events.

    • Making judicious use of the Precautionary Principle in the timber supply review AAC determination process so that all values present on the landscape are well protected with a reasonable margin of reserve set aside as a form of natural insurance that strengthens the inherent ability of the forested landscape of BC to adequately absorb and/or mitigate the negative impacts of both human incursions and naturally-occurring events on BC’s landscape.

    • This is logical because BC’s forests, if well and properly managed, have the inherent ability to significantly mitigate the impacts of all climatic events including heavy rainfall events, extremes in temperatures—either high or low, drought and/or high winds. BC has recently experienced all of these events, albeit relatively locally although over different geographic areas.

    • We personally use the Precautionary Principle in our everyday lives so that we can and do experience safe, healthy, wholesome and happy lives. We do this by reducing the several risks to which we are exposed as we go about our daily tasks. To fail to live by this principle would be irresponsible and foolhardy.

    In recent timber supply review AAC determinations the previous chief forester refused to consider any of the above factors in her AAC determinations. Many believe these adamant refusals were not in the public interest.

    We therefore request that you appropriately consider all of them in your pending and future AAC Determinations. By doing so you will be proactively demonstrating respectful regard not only for the inherent values of our forests but also for the interests of the people of BC.

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