By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter | Originally published Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at E&E News.
GROVELAND, Calif. — The Rim Fire, which burned 257,314 acres of forest in 2013, was the biggest wildfire on record for the Sierra Nevada. Forest Service officials declared large areas of the Stanislaus National Forest "nuked" into a "moonscape" where pine trees might not grow back for a generation.
But five years later, Chad Hanson — a forest ecologist who opposes logging on federal lands — can barely avoid stepping on the ponderosa pine saplings that have taken root amid the blackened trunks in one fire-damaged patch of the 898,099-acre national forest. Here, where the Rim Fire burned especially hot, one of the biggest questions about the future of America's climate-challenged woodlands plays out around Hanson's ankles: Are forests healthier and safer if humans mostly leave them alone?
As scientists, we have travelled the world’s rainforests on several continents. Few temperate places rival B.C.’s rich rainforest tapestry and its life-giving benefits.
Canadians are fortunate that B.C.’s globally rare old-growth rainforests are working behind the scenes all the time — helping to stabilize the climate, upholding irreplaceable cultural values of Indigenous peoples, and supporting tourism and recreation jobs. All of that is at risk, however, if logging continues at its current liquidation rate.
This alarming trend recently caught the attention of over 220 of the world’s scientists, who sent a letter to Premier John Horgan calling on the government to protect the remaining intact rainforests.
Unfortunately, British Columbia lacks a provincewide policy for protecting old-growth rainforests. On the one hand, the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement — forged in 2016 by provincial and First Nations governments — is a global conservation model. On the other hand, logging on Vancouver Island and in the Interior is a complete reversal of Canada’s responsible forest management commitments. If B.C. is going to survive the coming climate-change storm, it needs to unify its forest protection policies before its old-growth forest legacy is gone.
SFU student explains why the logging of these forests can be disastrous
By: Srijani Datta, Assistant News Editor Originally published July 18, 2018 at The Peak
On June 28, 223 international scientists called on the British Columbia government to stop the incessant logging of temperate rainforests in the province. The scientists addressed their concerns in a letter titled “International Scientists’ Call for Action to Protect Endangered Temperate Rainforests of British Columbia, Canada.”
The letter was organized by Dr. Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon. In a press release announcing the release of the letter, DellaSala highlighted the significance of BC’s forests and discussed how rare they are.
It seems like every time there is a forest fire, the timber industry blames environmentalists for a lack of “active forest management” and presumes that contemporary fires have catastrophic ecological consequences. David Schott’s opinion piece in the Mail Tribune July 22 does just that, using the Klamathon fire as an example.
But this fire began on residential land, not in the backcountry environmentalists seek to protect. It made its largest run on private residential, ranch, and timber land, pushed by strong winds. More roads and logging advocated by Schott will not protect communities nor maintain our natural environment.
The forests of our region are some of the most biologically diverse on the planet. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, fire resets nature’s successional clock from biologically rich old growth to also rich new forest — the circle of life. Fires were historically set by Native Americans to manage culturally important wildlife habitats.
In this interview by Kristen Hirsh-Pearson, Ex-Situ Board Member of the Montreal Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology and M.Sc. Candidate in the Venter Lab at the University of Northern British Columbia, Dr. Dominick DellaSala speaks about his work, the state of global biodiversity conservation, and has words of wisdom for the next generation of conservation biologists.