Chair of the Forest Practices Board of BC
hosted by the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association
April 23, 2008
Seaside Centre, Sechelt

Forests used to be a "fibre basket." But forests are now seen as a source of energy as well as material, with their value measured in "energy equivalence of biomass." Where we used to talk about allowable annual cuts to produce sawlogs, composite boards and pulp, we are now talking about carbon sequestration, commercial biofuels and tradable carbon credits.

Right now the BC forestry industry faces a slump in the American housing market, the mountain pine beetle kill, the end of old growth supplies, and the rise of the Canadian dollar. And as fibre mills shrink their output, ancillary outputs such as chips for pulp and hog fuel are also in short supply. In dire straits, some forest companies are turning their privately held productive forest land into real estate--covering a bottom line shortfall by "selling the furniture." And while some still think this is merely a vicious trough in a notoriously cyclical industry, others believe this is part of a change of planetary dimensions.

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Invited by the SCCA to speak in Sechelt on April 23, Dr. Bruce Fraser, chair of the Forest Practices Board of BC, stressed the urgent need to change the way we value and manage our forests.

Dr. Fraser surveys a BC Clearcut

“We are now beginning to characterize the forest as a source of energy as well as material, leading to inventories of the ‘energy equivalence of biomass’ as a measure of its value,” said Fraser. The danger is that this will add another level of extraction demand on the resource. Anticipating the coming importance of biomass when fossil fuels decline, large oil corporations are already beginning to form partnerships with agriculture and forest companies.

Dr. Fraser pointed to six major themes that are combining in their global impact: peak oil, crumbling agriculture, accelerating climate change, accelerating food consumption in emerging economies, failing financial markets and the overwhelming importance of water.

He said that the current economic crisis facing the forest industry in B.C. is part of a “deeply structural sea change of planetary dimensions.”

The Pacific Northwest is considered to be one of the last areas on the planet likely to be severely impacted by climate change, and our forests will play a key role. While we cannot escape the global impacts of climate change, he said, we have the opportunity to “raise the art of stewardship to a level equivalent to the challenge.”

Read More about Dr. Fraser's Presentation

Regarding: Selection of Interim Measures and Watershed Protection

Dear Chief and Council,

We are writing today on behalf of the membership of the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association to say thank you for your recent initiative to protect the Chapman and Gray community watersheds by nominating this area for “interim protection” as part of the land use negotiations between the Sechelt First Nation and British Columbia.

It is apparent to us, and we hope it is apparent to everyone, that there are highly significant benefits for the entire Sunshine Coast community inherent in the reconciliation of British Columbia with the Sechelt Nation.

Again, we thank you for your consistent approach, over many years, to management and protection of this critical resource area which is so important to the daily lives of the vast majority of residents of the Sunshine Coast.

Yours truly,
Daniel Bouman, Executive Director
Brad Benson, Co-Chair
Gail Riddell, Co-Chair

Hon. Gordon Campbell, Premier of BC Hon. Pat Bell, Minister, Agriculture and Lands Nicholas Simons, MLA Sunshine Coast Regional District Powell River Regional District Town of Gibsons District of Sechelt The Coast Reporter The Local The Peak

[From West Coast Environmental Law:]

The province’s new Public Health Act, unveiled on Wednesday April 9, has eliminated the public’s rights to demand an investigation of threats to their health, says West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL). Its preliminary analysis of the province’s new Public Health Act reveals some positive changes in the legislation. However, it has at the same time the new law has stripped away public input and transparency from the process. West Coast calls on the government to amend the Act to involve the public in addressing threats to public health.

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