LETTER: Mill closures not caused by conservation but by overcutting

From reader John Alton

Re: BUSINESS BUZZ: Part 3 of the Buzz’s annual year in review, Jan. 20

In response to your article about job loss from government deferrals of old growth forests, I question the assertion that 20 mills may close and that it’s the fault of conservation. Seeking more information I found an article in the Narwhal.

“Ecosystem collapse in B.C.’s rare inland temperate rainforest is imminent in nine to 18 years if logging rates continue at current levels, according to a new study by Canadian and American scientists that classifies the old-growth forest as critically endangered. Within a decade or two we could really be facing a major extinction event in the inland temperate rainforest,” Darwyn Coxson, one of the study’s nine authors, told The Narwhal.

Another researcher, Ben Parfitt from CCPA, said on the EcoCentric radio show that 50,000 jobs have been lost from B.C. forestry in the last 20 years. Industry is shutting down mills, reinvesting outside Canada and shipping out logs. Obviously government and industry are responsible for the massive job losses. B.C. is the second worst forestry jobs creator in Canada. Blaming conservation is wrong and only creates division and animosity towards those who act to save some minimum environmental biodiversity.

Taking stock, we have mostly lost the mountain caribou from our region because of over-cutting and studies have linked excessive clearcutting to wildfires, landslides and flooding. Are we going to passively continue with business as usual? I hope we can all work together, do the right thing and harvest within the capacity of forest ecosystems and then our forests will provide us clean air and water, a stable climate, a safe environment plus sustainable jobs.

I volunteer with Last Stand West Kootenays and I so much want readers to consider your position on conservation and help us to work towards a better future with jobs and environment. Lastly maybe you’d be with us at the next rally to protect the last stands of old growth forests?

John Alton