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LETTER: Change in forest policies needed

Current model of forest management has negative effects

Dear Editor:

With so many problems facing humanity, there is unease that one key issue, ongoing forest devastation, has become sidelined.

Consequently, concerned citizens from impacted communities across B.C. will be participating in an online 10-day forestry forum that will culminate on Sept. 18 with a province-wide day of action.

The current model of forest management, which primarily benefits corporate shareholders, has resulted in flooded communities, damaged water supplies, destructive landslides, loss of habitat, rapid decline of endangered species populations and significant job losses.

READ ALSO: ‘Forced retirement’ a reality for sawmill employees

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Additionally, since 2002, B.C. forests have turned from a carbon sink to a massive source of carbon dioxide and methane as more forests are logged, tuned into pellets and burned in wildfires.

The current government in Victoria has done nothing to reverse the policies that have provided forestry companies with unfettered access to the publicly owned forest landbase.

Individuals and community groups across the province have been working in isolation to push for changes to forest management, but they keep hitting the same brick wall, legislation that favours corporate profits over ecosystem health and local job creation.

Front line logging communities deserve better than the continued loss of employment that results from forestry focused on automation and cheap raw log exports, with profits invested south of the border and Sweden.

The B.C. government has been unwilling to transition to a system that is best for both the economy and the environment, and instead continues to reward the corporations.

British Columbia’s forests belong to the people, not to corporate shareholders. It is time for the B.C. government to build a new forest framework that respects nature and Indigenous systems, gives power back to communities, and provides local forestry jobs once again. This is the grass roots action that will get us there. Learn more at forestmarchbc.com.

Taryn Skalbania

Peachland

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