We need to involve communities in preserving their forests

Much-needed new policies to shape the renewal of the interior forest industry are now being discussed – unfortunately, these discussions, going on in many communities, involve just the forest companies and First Nations.

While both parties will ably represent their own goals and interests, there is no opportunity for others to do so other than through a government website – that’s unfortunate because we have a common problem.

Our scientists have said with increasing clarity that we only have a decade to radically rearrange the way we interact with our planet or its adjustment to the effects of our industrial activity will be exponentially brutal. So we have to move uncomfortably quickly to managing our forests according to the dictates of the planet’s ecosystem, not our economy.

Happily, for us, there has been a growing body of science on ecosystem-based management. We know how to do this.

Still, however, large-scale industrial forestry, characterized by clear-cutting forests and eliminating old-growth forests, has failed us – lessening biodiversity, contributing to species extinction, reducing the fertility and resilience of our forests so that they cannot grow as much wood, store as much carbon or protect our water sources.

Our forests and communities, and now our planet, have lost health. It is not a sustainable model.

Endless mill closures have taught us that. The most common response to date has been the least helpful, to export the logs elsewhere.

Industrial forestry continues its decline as a significant part of our economy. Why are we listening to a failed model? We all need a more diverse rural economy.

It is way past time to put an end to large corporations creating major ecological and social damage on their way to profit creation and begin to develop community economies that operate in a truly sustainable way within their ecologies. There is no one, clear or easy route to this.

 

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IMAGE: https://pixabay.com/photos/forestry-inventory-forestry-work-4272923/