Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.

FOREST INK: Documentaries provide perspective on forestry problems

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.

Planning by design rather than default.

While I have always thought this advice was rather self evident, it is a real challenge in some aspects of forestry. This is very apparent in the ongoing battles over the old growth harvest on the B.C. coast. As is the case in many complex issues, coming up with basic definitions and ground rules is often the first challenge. For example a report by the Ecosystem Based Management Working Group published in 2008 titled “Defining old growth and recovering old growth on the coast”

READ MORE: More than 50 arrested Tuesday at logging protest camps on Vancouver Island

The legal objectives define old growth forests by a simple and somewhat arbitrary age criterion: 250 years or older for the North and mid-coast and 180 years or older for the South Central Coast. This approach is acknowledged by all to fail in terms of using ecologically-appropriate definitions.

Most of the paper deals with questions resulting from a workshop in Vancouver a few months before the article was published. One of the main criticisms was identifying criteria other than age (like stand structure along with critical plant and animal species that help identify old or ancient growth-like stands).

Coming up with some type of plan is critical since most of the problems arise from a greater demand on a diminishing resource. For example an annual increase of 83 million people each year competing for old growth forest values which may have taken a thousand years to develop. The challenge for the older generations is to accept the fact that we will not be able to consume and waste resources that we have up to now and future generations will not have the same opportunities that older generations have had. What can be done to minimize these gaps?

READ MORE: Scientists release maps of B.C. old growth forests, urge province to stop cutting

In forestry some recent bright spots are the use of forest residuals that we used to burn on-site. In agriculture there are some gains in restorative agriculture practices. A good film is “Kissing the Ground” which describes some of the potential gains. Examples like using more grass fed animals in place of corn fed animals in feedlots. Replacing cultivation and pesticides with a more diverse plant cover and tillage practices to improve carbon content of the degraded soils.

Some recent statistics about the ratio of domestic animals relative to wild animals should also be a wake up call. The biomass of terrestrial mammalian species larger than humans is as follows: humans is 36 per cent, our domestic animals is 60 per cent and all wild animals is four per cent. If you’re not concerned that this ratio is a major problem with retaining some of the most marvellous wild creatures on the planet then I have couple of good examples that should inspire everyone.

First an amazing Netflix film “My Octopus Teacher” about interactions between an octopus and diver in the kelp forests off the coast of South Africa. There is also a shorter version about a woman and octopus along the California coast.

The other is a YouTube film about a woman scientist who was saved from a tiger shark by a humpback whale. This is just another example of creatures like dolphins and whales who seem to forget the atrocities that we humans have committed on each other and our fellow wild animals and demonstrate a more altruistic behaviour. My goal post-COVID is not to go back to my old practices but try and develop some improved habits.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Columnforestry

Just Posted

A Baker Creek tour from 2019 with a group of students - tours will be much smaller in 2020 due to COVID-19 prevention measures. (Submitted Photo)
Baker Creek Nature Explorers plans for full summer in Quesnel

The day program will run twice a week for two age groups

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for the Cariboo north including Quesnel. (Black Press file image)
Environment Canada issues thunderstorm watch for Quesnel

A chance of thundershowers is forcasted to last until Tuesday

The Gold Pan Grannies attended the Quesnel Farmers’ Market where they sold perennials and vegetable plants and fruit trees by donation Saturday, May 29. They were able to raise $1,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Gold Pan Grannies raise $1,000 for Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign

Annual plant sale at Quesnel Farmers’ Market a success

Amy Vardy is one of four dancers to compete in their final year of the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts. (Submitted Photo)
Quesnel Festival of the Arts graduating dancer profile: Amy Vardy

The Quesnel Festival of the Performing arts is honouring their graduating dancers

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Predictions of climate variability and effects on agriculture

Oliver Rujanschi, we will miss you and the warmth that you were. Sorry friend

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Most Read