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Response to Rensby on old growth deferral



I read with interest Charlie Rensby’s column dated Jan. 26 regarding old growth deferrals. On first reading it sounded pretty good and I agreed that coastal old growth is not the same as our interior fire based ecosystems. But the article did leave me a bit confused so I did a bit of research into the Lakes North and South sustainable resource management Plans (2003, 2009), the lakes land and resource management plan (2000) and recent timber supply reviews (2019).

What I found was that we don’t really have a Nov. 2, 2021 old growth deferral but rather a number of Old Growth Management areas that were designated years ago. These areas have been shown, through multiple timber supply reviews, to have had minimal impact on how much our forest industry is allowed to harvest. I would like to note that these areas are very important for biodiversity and ecosystem integrity.

What is impacting our local timber supply and therefore our local timber based economy are not old growth management areas (OGMA) or deferrals but rather a significant short fall in our mid term timber supply as a result of the mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation and the mortality of up to 80 per cent of our pine stands. Check out recent timber supply review reports. Previous governments repeatedly warned us that harvests in the Burns Lake area would decline significantly because of the MPB, caused, I believe, by our warming climate.

OGMAs that were set aside in the Lakes District years ago are not to blame for our current harvesting woe’s? Could we cut these areas and increase our harvest levels a bit more? Probably, but my fear would be compromising fish habitat, wildlife habitat, stream flows, stream temperatures, important wilderness and recreational values and primarily biodiversity and ecosystem integrity even more than they are already compromised.

We can achieve community protection by fire proofing around communities and settled areas without compromising important environmental values. It is also my opinion that wildlife connectivity corridors can be harvested carefully to address blow down and other risks to the forest.

I agree with Mr. Rensby that most problems facing us can be overcome by good resource management that is guided by local input and expert advice.

I also love where I live and care for the community and surrounding area.

Respectfully submitted,

Gunter Hoehne, RFP retired