Editorial: forestry changes needed – step back in time

Reforestation and rehabilitation process need to include wildfire protection

It seems like Quesnel has been a forest industry powerhouse forever.

Back in the day, forest harvesting and fibre processing was booming and there were a lot of people pulling in good paycheques. The surrounding forests were buzzing with large logging shows where tall, healthy trees were knocked down, skidded to a landing and trucked into the mills in Quesnel.

Those were the good old days when generations of families worked in the forest industry doing a variety of jobs. The scenario was very much the same in communities up and down Highway 97.

Buyers wanted that good lumber produced in the Interior and the population grew because folks wanted a piece of the pie. With the jobs came the need for schools, churches, hospitals and the service industry.

It’s interesting that most, if not all, the Highway 97 forestry communities started with bush mills.

Eventually, the growing market for lumber demanded large mills built in communities close to the transportation corridors.

Then “forestry” changed, and there were rules and regulations and tenure. The foresters got involved in planning, management of forested land, rehabilitation and reforestation. They learned Mother Nature’s cycles and adopted her greatest tool – fire. When Mother Nature wanted to rehabilitate and regenerate a pine forest, she started a fire, cleansed and created nutrients of the forest floor and reseeded.

Foresters adopted that tool and used it for rehabilitation and regeneration – it worked well.

But a new generation of knowledge came along and that practice went by the wayside. Then a voracious little bug – mountain pine beetle – virtually chewed its way through British Columbia and headed for greener wood over the Rockies.

While dead/dry pine is still being harvested and used in the lumber mill mix, its economic viability is coming to an end.

We just went through the wildfire season of 2017 and it was devastating for everyone, including the forest extraction and processing industry, which lost huge inventories to the raging fires.

The Quesnel fire zone doesn’t have the clumps of green timber mixed with the charred trees like Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, where the fires got close to structures and were fought vigorously.

Now, we have to look at ground fuel mitigation to supply timber to the mills and protect our wild land/urban interface, which, in turn, will protect our communities from the next wildfire season, as Mayor Bob Simpson suggested recently.

The former Cariboo Regional District chair recently suggested we should return to burning the ground fuel on reforestation sites before planting.

Forest Practices Board chair Tim Ryan says his board will be doing a special report on best practices on how to reforest, rehabilitate and what to plant given climate change.

So, the forest industry is still in play, but we have to adopt new practices.

Ken Alexander, Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Just Posted

Fall at the Quesnel Farmers’ Market

The second-to-last outdoor market of the season featured the annual Giant Pumpkin Contest

Quesnel Community Living Association launches Empties 4 Abilities program

There are three new donation bins around the community

Quesnel Grade 8 girls bump, set and spike in Prince George

QJS sent two teams up north to a play day on Sept. 28

Barrel racing bonanza at Quesnel’s Alex Fraser Park

Perfect conditions graced the first Quesnel Fall Spring Series race

Career fair a success for many

700 job hunters visited the Black Press Extreme Education and career fair in Prince George Oct. 11

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read