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Logging fails to make top-10 list of important public values in forest reserve

Logging-related revenue and jobs do not even rank within the top-10 list of what citizens value most about the Municipal Forest Reserve, a consultant’s report for North Cowichan council reveals.

A Lees and Associates report says the top four considerations cited by North Cowichan residents in an on-line survey as being “extremely” or “moderately” important are water quality, water supply protection, recreation, and habitat and ecology.

Next in importance: views and visual quality followed by climate-change benefits, air quality, mature/old forests, jobs related to tourism and recreation, and cultural/spiritual use of the forests.

Forest reserve revenue to the municipality ranked 12th out of 14 choices, just above forestry jobs.

A total of 594 North Cowichan residents and 407 non-residents, including 101 from Duncan, answered the on-line survey. Non-residents also expressed strong support for ecology, recreation, and viewscapes.

Lees and Associates conducted the research as part of a public consultation process into the future of the 5,000-hectare forest reserve.

Council will discuss the findings at its committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The consultant’s report released Friday summarizes interviews with 19 stakeholders, 1,145 responses to an on-line survey, and the views of 110 participants at four on-line workshops.


“There was agreement that the MFR is a valued community asset, and many are in favour of an approach to forest management that shifts the primary management focus of the MFR toward the ecological and recreational benefits,” says the report.

“The importance of protecting and enhancing the ecological benefits of the MFR was a strong theme. Many expressed concern with the health of the forest, and indicated that the ecosystem services provided by the forest outweigh the potential revenue from harvesting.”

The full report:

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— Larry Pynn Feb. 6, 2022


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