Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg

North Cowichan residents asked to stand up for their municipal forests

On-line survey, Zoom workshops available now for Six Mountains

Shortly after the last municipal election in the fall of 2018, North Cowichan residents rallied in the hundreds to demand an end to business-as-usual logging in the 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve.

Today, three years later, citizens are finally and officially being asked to help shape the future of our Six Mountains.

Several municipal forest initiatives are being rolled out, including an on-line survey, a series of four Zoom workshops, and a Discussion Guide providing some background on the forest reserve.

Visit https://bit.ly/3nHY956 for details.

Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg

The Discussion Guide tendered by Lees & Associates consultants is not without its flaws.

It makes no mention of an important draft biodiversity report by Ecologic Consulting in which it is estimated 141 species are at risk in the forest reserve. See page 15 https://bit.ly/3uaxVtc.

The Discussion Guide is also found wanting on the subject of carbon credits.

UBC forestry officials working with the Municipality on a management plan for the forest reserve have suggested North Cowichan stands to earn as much or more through carbon credits by leaving our forests standing instead of chopping them down.

That could be a win-win scenario — money in municipal coffers, trees left standing for biodiversity, viewscapes and recreation. (https://bit.ly/3l2iyjz)

In the Guide, the words “carbon revenue” surface only once, in a list of “forest values,” but nowhere does the document explain the term.

The Guide does provide a link to a UBC presentation on the ecological significance of the forest reserve, but the link directs readers to a page where UBC is not even mentioned. If you scroll down, it’s the video at the bottom.

Here is a direct municipal link to more information on the subject: https://bit.ly/3CMUIhJ

The 17-page Guide also includes plenty of vista photos, but just one image of active logging and certainly does not depict the sort of clearcutting that sixmountains.ca has documented on areas such as Mt. Prevost.

I give the Guide credit for noting that “large sections” of the 5,000-hectare forest reserve fall within the rare Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone.

This is a critical point in the conservation debate.

However, it fails to note that other sections fall within the Very Dry Maritime Coastal Western Hemlock zone — which has the second least amount of old-growth in the province and the second highest percentage of private land. https://bit.ly/32gO5Yn

In other words, the entire forest reserve is worthy of protection.

It’s now time for citizens to step up and participate, to raise their voices as they did before — when hundreds crowded council chambers and later the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre — to tell our local politicians why we value our forests.

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(Photos: Mt Prevost, standing forest and clearcut)

— Larry Pynn, Nov. 24, 2021