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LETTER: Rethinking forestry values

From reader Terry Lowrey

Re: Logging company proposes agroforestry project for Nelson area, Jan. 28

Re-imagining the forest. It sounds like cool stuff. The squirrels are going to love the walnuts! It is nice that forest companies are thinking about the well-being of wildlife for a change.

Lately I too have been re-imagining the forest. I imagine foresters nurturing and working with natural processes that have taken millions of years to evolve. Forestry techniques that enhance wildlife habitat and appreciate air and water quality. Forestry that values the life-giving and climate services a forest provides.

In our valley, smoke is becoming more prevalent. In winter wood stoves continually belch out a toxic brew especially when choked down and burning inefficiently. Fire mitigation now smokes out spring and fall. Campfires from provincial parks and forest fires fill in the summer months. Factor in private property owners burning green slash from wind events like that of Jan. 13 and it is getting seriously unhealthy around here.

My wife and I both suffer respiratory problems even though we are reasonably healthy for our age. Many of our friends both younger and older are also experiencing greater difficulty breathing and it is especially serious for those with heart conditions.

I wish we could re-imagine our burning addiction and consider alternatives like leaving small material on the ground. Pile but don’t burn slash, or mulch and allow to decompose. This locks up the carbon rather than dumping it into the atmosphere. Encourage heat pump use, they are cheaper than burning wood and healthier. Establish smoke free zones in campgrounds. Public cigarettes smoking isn’t acceptable and neither should other types of smoke be.

Re-imagining industrial forestry is good and long overdue but it needs to be expanded to consider the larger values a forest provides. Timber values aren’t the only values in a forest.

Terry Lowrey

Nelson

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