The mono-culture of pine trees by the forestry sector by spraying glyphosate and excessively eliminating fire from the landscape has had a catastrophic impact on the risk of wildfires across BC. The mono-culture of only planting one type of fast growing tree has increased the fire risk which is naturally mitigated by biodiversity and leads to a the compounding effect of pine beetle kill. Ultimately, when forests are managed as a large farm for the forestry sector, blights and disasters such as fire will have an increased impacted on both communities and the forest itself. The best thing to reduce the risk of wildfires is to manage forests for natural biodiversity. Forests go through a natural cycle of recovery after fire or deforestation, where grasses first, deciduous second, and finally coniferous trees reclaim the landscape. Failing to replant a natural collection of plants and trees in favour of pine cultivation is detrimental.
A vital step in landscape-level planning is understanding what is
important to the public. Based on what is important to you or your
community, what information on the condition of resource values such as
species-at-risk habitat do you think is necessary to support the
The most important thing for me, my family, and my community is maintaining healthy and thriving habitat for wildlife and fish populations for the purpose of hunting and fishing. For me and my community, hunting and fishing plays a central role in our lives. It allows us to put organic, natural, healthy and ethically sourced food on the table and allows us to enjoy BC's natural beauty. It is distressing to see the gradual loss of hunting and fishing opportunities as forestry sector and other resource sector jobs damage the environment with no accountability or enforcement or requirement for meaningful restoration and habitat recovery. Jobs in rural BC are obviously very important as well, and the solution is not to simply halt forestry or create protected areas which the public has limited access to. It is critical to balance both the jobs of rural BC with how imperative it is to protect, maintain, and enhance habitat to recover and increase wildlife populations. This can be done with careful planning and the inclusion of provincial biologists in protecting and ensuring recourse activities have a net positive impact on habitat and wildlife populations through using increased fees paid by the resource sector to be directed back into wildlife management. It is critical that provincial biologists and conservation officers have the funding and enforcement powers needed to manage habitat and wildlife for long term sustainability and growth. The resource sector and healthy wildlife populations are not inherently opposing priorities. Many jurisdictions in the United States have thriving and growing populations of game species as a result of habitat restoration and protection paid for by fees from the resource sector and excise taxes on outdoor recreation equipment. It is not impossible to have your cake and eat it too in the area of enhancing wildlife populations and allowing sustainable resource sector jobs.
How would you like to be involved in the planning process?
I would like to be involved by having a single location online where I can sign up for notifications and read about planned activities in BC forests. Also, it should be incumbent on anyone wishing to be involved in the planning process to prove their legitimacy as a stakeholder. It is my deep concern that foreign funded organizations play an illegitimate role in shaping policy in forest and wildlife management. The UK cosmetics company LUSH spends huge amounts of money funding anti-hunting organizations masquerading as environmental groups and mobilizes well-meaning but uninformed urbanites who have never and will never venture into the woods to support their anti-meat agenda, while the American forestry company Weyerhaeuser pretends to be advocating for jobs when really they are looking at profits. Neither group is a legitimate stakeholder in how BC forests and wildlife should be managed. The people who live, spend time, and make a living in the regions where the planning is taking place are the only legitimate stakeholders. Please consult First Nations, hunters and anglers, outdoor recreation groups, and local residents of the region where the planning is taking place.
Resource roads are a valuable asset in the province as they provide access for the forest industry, ranchers, other resource users, and the public for commercial
and recreation purposes. Yet, these same road networks are costly to
maintain and have potential negative impacts on wildlife, water quality
and fish habitat. What values do you believe are important to consider
when planning new roads, road use and maintenance, and deactivation in
Roads have a scientifically proven impact on habitat, fish, and wildlife. Numerous scientific papers confirm this. Deactivation by simply pulling culverts has a negligible impact on mitigating their impact on ecosystems. Reforesting roads is required to restore and recover habitat. Obviously, a balanced approach is required to allow access for both industry and the public without unnecessarily or irreversibly harming wildlife and fish populations. This is where scientific monitoring by provincial biologists and conservation officers should inform decision making on road deactivation and reforestation. Wildlife and fish populations are the canary in the coal mine to inform decision making about the level road deactivation and reforesting that is required. If wildlife or fish populations are declining, then deactivation and reforesting is more urgent. If populations are sustainable or growing, then road density can be maintained. Ultimately, we need to manage our forests for the long term health of BC plant and animal species.
How can the Province improve transparency and timelines of
information regarding proposed operational and landscape-level
objectives, plans and results?
It is critical that the government publish, in an easy to read format, at a central location online, objectives, plans and results of landscape-level planning. It is also critical that objectives be measurable and meaningful with sufficient resources to monitor and enforce. For decades we have seen the slow decline in fish and wildlife populations which indicates that the process is clearly failing, yet there is no transparency and even less accountability. It should be mandated that having a net-positive impact on habitat, fish and wildlife populations, and biodiversity be a condition of resource sector operations which is planned for and monitored by provincial biologists and enforced by conservation officers and police.
What information will help inform your feedback on plans that may
impact you, your community or your business (e.g., maps of cutblocks and
roads planned in your area, hydrological assessments, wildlife habitat
areas or recreation opportunities, etc)?
Detailed maps, reports from biologists on native biodiversity, fish, and wildlife populations, and the criticality of the habitat, as well as a detailed plan of how the habitat impacts will be reversed or restored following the resource sector operations or how they will be offset or mitigated would greatly help inform feedback on the impacts of planned resource extraction.
What additional values should be considered in FRPA that will allow us to manage forest and range practices in a better way?
The values of hunter and angler conservationists should be considered in the FRPA. Hunter and angler conservationists want to ensure fish and wildlife populations thrive in BC. It is easy to assume this is simply because we want to hunt or hook these animals and fish. While we do enjoy hunting and fishing, and enjoy the food it puts on the table, the main reason every hunter and angler I have ever met wants to ensure healthy and abundant fish and wildlife populations in BC is because when you spend weeks or months in the woods, quietly learning about the habitat and animals of BC, you gain an unparalleled love for the beauty and preciousness of nature. The nature of BC is one of a kind and once it is gone, it may never come back. Healthy and thriving fish and wildlife populations mean that there is a healthy ecosystem with native biodiversity. We are the custodians of this great natural beauty which can sustain us through hunting and fishing, recreation, and also industrial activities if they are managed carefully for long term sustainability. Hunter and angler conservationists don't see nature as something to be exploited for profit or tamed for agriculture, but rather appreciate the richness of it simply remaining wild. There are many countries in the would which have lost their native species hundreds of years ago to the ignorance or greed of development and there are many poor countries today that are trading their natural heritage for socioeconomic development. BC stands at a crossroads where we can either become like Europe, which has lost most of its biodiversity, or make a serious stand and invest in protecting and restoring forests, fish, and wildlife populations so that we can still call ourselves Beautiful British Columbia for generations to come.
In what ways should the province strengthen government oversight and
industry accountability regarding forest and range activities to better
address the challenges of climate change and the interests of all
The province should strengthen oversight and industry accountability by funding forest, wildlife and habitat management to levels comparable to jurisdictions which are succeeding in maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations. This means roughly a ten times increase in funding. The increase in funding can come from fees levied on resource extraction and forestry, excise taxes on outdoor recreation equipment, fees for tourism sector groups such as ski hills and whale watching, increased fees on hunting and fishing licences. With adequate funding, provincial biologists would have the resources to monitor the health of forests, streams, and wildlife, participate in planning of resource sector activities, monitor impacts, and recovery efforts, and work with conservation officers to enforce and maintain accountability. Right now, provincial biologists and conservation officers barely have the funding required to monitor the free-fall declines in certain fish and wildlife populations, but do not have the resources to prevent, or reverse the trend. Fish and wildlife managers across north America have proven they know how to use science to restore and maintain healthy wildlife populations if they have the resources and enforcement powers to do so. We must use the best science and adequate funding to manage the effects of climate change so that we can maintain healthy wilderness in BC.