Saturday, January 30, 2016

Betraying the Great Bear: British Columbia's Primaeval Forest Announcement: "Open for Business"

On Today's GBR Announcement at Bella Bella

by Ingmar Lee

January 30, 2016

I spent 21 years of my life planting trees. I have planted more than a million trees and supervised the planting of ten million more. I have crawled through the entrails of once ancient forests all across BC and Alberta planting trees.

I am not under any illusion that treeplanting, as a PR facet of industrial logging, replaces what is lost when a primaeval forest is destroyed.

I love primaeval forest.

Humanity, for the most part evolved under a lush forest canopy, as symbiotic participants in the ever unfolding evolution of their biodiversity.

More recently, deserts began appearing across this planet, as forests were mowed back to make way for "civilization."

In the epicentre of every desert, there is a failed human enterprise which metastasized and consumed itself to extinction. 

I began planting trees 37 years ago, and contrary to the oft-repeated promise of "sustained yield" forestry, -where a watershed would be logged according to an 80 year "rotation" -that is, having started in at "tidewater" 1/80th would be taken every year, so having made it to the end of the valley after 80 years, then they could start at the beginning again- trees that I planted are being logged today. And as they always take out the biggest and best timber first, Big Logging keeps on cutting down the timber profile into ever more inaccessible, marginal and younger forests.

In the Lillooet area, where I ended my career, having exhausted all the forest within 3 hours of town, the cutting face was up in the subalpine parkland, where they were mowing into 300-year-old spruce stands, with trees only 1 foot diameter at the butt. Recently I visited Merritt, where the mill yard is loaded with logs barely the size of fenceposts.

On this planet, primaeval forest has been virtually exterminated. Almost daily we hear of yet another forest-dependent mega-fauna extinction. Just to the south of here on Vancouver Island, industry is not only finishing off the final veterans of its once stupendous primaeval forest, but is cutting down through the age profile of all of its subsequent-growth, post-primaeval forest at a most voracious rate, with a majority of the logs being exported in the round, as raw logs. Currently in Japan, British Columbia logs are milled there, and the planks are sold in lumberyards cheaper than they can be bought right here.

I mourn for the tragic, wanton, wasteful loss of these magnificent forests.

I'm not fooled by government/industry promises, or "world-class" Great Bear Rainforest agreements. I watched today as Premier Christy Clark and her entourage of professional environmentalist Greenwashers announced their latest "groundbreaking" agreement which will see 2,000,000 cubic metres a year, for 10 years of primaeval forest helicoptered out, and exported away from here. I kept my mouth shut, out of deference and respect for the Heiltsuk leadership and I accept their difficult decision.

Personally, I have no confidence at all in "Ecosystem-Based-Management" or its Forest Ethics/Greenpeace/Sierra Club and Big Logging architects.

I believe that, bottom line, it is unethical to destroy any more primaeval forest on this planet. Such forest is at the zenith of its evolutionary, primordial complexity, and already, what shockingly little remains of primaeval forest on Earth already mourns the loss of its apex inhabitant, the human element which has now virtually disappeared from its whelm.

Humans are now completely alienated from their once forested home. I feel so sorry and helpless that I cannot do more to preserve these irreplaceable places.


1 comment:

Chris Cook said...

First Nations are not in an equitable position; they are not today fit to make deals effecting the future of the greater environment.

These "negotiations" with FN's, and we see them in every jurisdiction, are like offering a starving child a sandwich in exchange for their birthright. It can't be justified, and in a fair court any deals struck under such circumstance could not be deemed legitimate.

We of a certain age grew up with the myths of Chief Seattle and Grey Wolf. The nineteenth century European writers and painters depicted "New World" inhabitants as "noble savages" who lived in a different way, and claimed to not own land, but be possessed by it. Clearly, these fantasies served only their authors; but if First Nations' rights are to mean anything, and they must if they are to be used as sanction to violate the inviolate: the ancient forests, streams, rivers, and coastal ecosystems, then shouldn't those First people first exercise true ownership of those lands; shouldn't they first be fairly compensated for what has already been taken out of their territories these last centuries?

Should not their coffers and longhouses be filled with silver and gold, precious timber, furs, fish, mother of pearl, and a fair share of the rest of the riches the settlers have wrought? Then perhaps ask the First people, "Will you allow we take away the first forests and all its creatures, flora and fauna, for handfuls of paper and empty promises?"

As for the "Green" people brokering these deals; I wish for them that they may find a planet of their own to feel at home on.