In less than a decade, British Columbia has gone from environmental leader to environmental laggard in stewarding one of our most important natural resources. And it could not come at a worse time, as we grapple with climate change and its horrendous impact on our forests.
In 2001, public reforestation investments stood at $45 million. A year later, those same investments had been slashed to $7 million. By 2004, they had reached an anemic $3 million.
Incredibly, over the same timeframe the area of BC forest attacked by the mountain pine beetle went from 785,497 hectares to more than 7 million hectares. In other words, while the area of land filled with hundreds of millions of beetle-killed trees increased by a factor of 9, the amount of public dollars spent on replanting decreased by 93 per cent—all this from a government that professed to care about stewarding our publicly owned natural resources.
Ben Parfitt, George Heyman, Arnold Bercov/Policy Note/2010-05-11/BC's Reforestation Crisis