Opinion: Nadu, Skidegate Lake logging plans are irresponsible

As a former resident of Nadu Road, I am disappointed by the logging proposals by both Taan and BC Timber Sales near Skidegate Lake and the Nadu/Masset area, respectively. The short-rotation, clearcut-based approach to forestry prevents Haida Gwaii from achieving a lucrative position as sustainable producer of high-quality wood, abundant wild salmon, and maintaining a picturesque landscape necessary for ecotourism. The irresponsible approach taken by both timber organizations is greatly damaging to biodiversity.

The proposed harvesting by BC Timber Sales on northern Haida Gwaii near Highway 16 would hurt tourism, traditional values, biodiversity, and future high-quality timber production. Harvesting proposed in the Nadu and Watun watersheds would leave little old or mature forests along the east side of Masset Inlet. Furthermore, the logging would prevent any truly sustainable forestry operation from occurring along the east side of Masset Inlet for at least several generations, if not a century or more.

Another concern is the clearcutting proposed by Taan, by prime mushroom land beside the recreation site at Skidegate Lake. This harvesting illustrates a contempt for community values and the wellbeing to the economy and ecosystem of Haida Gwaii. While mushroom production does require young forest, stand-replacement timber harvesting should be done over a long-enough time to maintain sufficient areas of young to medium-age forests for mushroom production.

Rather than a near-universal dependence on clearcutting and similar logging (silvicultural) approaches, a focus on single-tree selection or continuous coverage forestry should be used. For instance, selective logging will allow production of high-quality wood including monumental cedar to grow. This would also facilitate tourism and protect biodiversity more broadly.

Lengthening rotations can also help protect both timber and non-timber values. Combining commercial thinning with a rotation of 240 years would produce more wood than a 60-year rotation. Even if clearcutting or similar systems were used, the area clearcut would fall by 67 to 75 per cent.

The forests of Haida Gwaii are a sacred trust to be managed for future generations. The Crown and the Council of the Haida Nation are abdicating their responsibilities to their peoples and to the land and waters.

Thomas Cheney

Chilliwack, B.C.

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