Wildsight is speaking out against a proposed logging operation in the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located just 50 km south of Golden.
The operation suposedly will help curtail the spread of the Fir Bark Beetle, which is the principal killer of mature Douglas-fir trees in B.C. Wildsight maintains that the logging will do more harm than good to the sensitive ecosystems.
“Logging in the WMA will not control the beetle infestation. The infestation is already advanced and the beetles will likely be elsewhere by the time any logging occurs,” states Robyn Duncan, exectuvie director of Wildsight.
“The proposed logging will further fragment mature forest adjacent to the wetlands and result in further losses to habitat and connectivity for species like grizzly bears and migratory birds.”
According to Canfor’s 2018 sustainability report, warmer and drier summers and winters have increased the risk of drought, wildfires and insect infestations like bark beetles.
The report states that Canfor’s forest management practices play a key role in helping to sequester carbon by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as dead and dying trees that are normally the target of bark beetles are not able to contribute to carbon sequestration.
Canfor stated that it helps mitigate bark beetles by prioritizing the harvest of over-mature trees, where beetle infestations can flourish.
The report further explained that by thinning out the tree population of the lowest quality timber, younger, healthier tress will have better access to sunlight and nutrients, allowing forests to continue to thrive.
“Forest management activities that determine the composition of our future forests will play a significant role in determining the impact of climate change,” read the report.
For Wildsight, it’s not enough, as the proposed salvage logging will also require invasive new roads penetrating an area designed to protect wildlife.
The Columbia Wetlands are an internationally recognized and highly sensitive ecosystem and are the largest intact wetlands in southern B.C.
Rich in plant and animal life, the 180 km-long wetland, stretching from Columbia Lake to Donald, is home to more than 300 species of animals, 65 of which are designated species at risk, according to Wildsight.
The Wetlands are protected under the BC Wildlife Act.