........Comment by Bill Moore

...The forest around us

It’s confusing

....What’s new in the forest around us? Possibly confusion. Not that it is really a new subject, but it seems to have taken on a bigger spotlight these days. Maybe we should sit back for a minute and check out a few topics that mean something to this forest industry, and a few bits and pieces of confusion surrounding these topics.
Let’s take, for instance, “The Bra-zilian Threat,” “The Chemical spray Caper” or “How Not To Put Logs In Salt Water And Go Broke.”
....Now there we have three topics of confusing conversation that could all sound like old Warner Bros. Plots for grade B Peter Lorrie films of the thirties.
....Let’s try the “Brazilian Threat” – they’ll run us out of business! They grow trees in 10 years! The whole jungle down there is going to be replanted in softwood! One hears these stories being spoken of in dark corridors of large concrete buildings, and also in the odd bunkhouse or two in the camps. The very fact that a pulp mill is being built in Japan, to be towed on barges to the Amazon river, leaves a chap quite stunned with modern technology.
....Undoubtedly these Brazilians are clever fellows in their open encour-agement of entrepreneurs to “come and do business in Brazil.” Apparently the tax situation of new business enterprises makes businessmen look closely at this large South American country. Well and good. And the moist warmth of parts of the country would have a hot house effect on young pines etc. and the little rascals would grow like crazy.
....But it just could be that Brazil is not a threat, but simply another dimension of an ever-expanding need for forest pro-ducts. And they, like us, must have a few problems to face in the future, if not now. Seems to me when


you grow trees this fast, lumber from those trees would take a lot of drying and preservation from rot. Also one hears of changing governments in good old South America rather more often than one does in this upper America.
....Then there’s the problem of trained people – or if imported – to get such people to live there. In some of these new forests in Brazil it is not uncommon to have poisoned arrows shot at you by one of several nomadic tribes that simply refuse to live by Hoyle’s Book of Rules. I haven’t heard of poisoned arrows around these parts of Canada for quite a while – poisoned words, yes, but arrows – my goodness!
....So sorting through the confusion and just trying to keep a keel even, this non-expert would say, “We’ve still got a lot of green pastures right here in Canada that can be well tended and can keep us in biscuits if we keep an objective and optimistic view of our own forests.
....Passing on to a more local British Columbia theme of confusion – the “Chemical Spray Caper” should teach us a few little lessons in homework and balances. Last year about this time great weaves of protest arose from the Fraser Canyon area over the Forest Service’s proposed Spruce Budworm spraying program.
....Sides were taken, petitions were drawn up, public hearings were held, the media had a field day of controversial confusion. The issue of “to spray or not to spray” became hyper emotional. Protest groups were on the ready and government ministers were pictured as villains.
....To this outside observer it seemed that our government did not have all their homework done to properly justify the need for spraying. There was an embarrassment there So the spray was called off while homework was commenced. A very confusing time.
...Now we find that, homework in hand,

the Forest Service has brought out its findings for the spray program in the Fraser Canyon for this year. In effect they state in their press release:
....• Morality is less than one per cent.
....• The adverse effect of the bud- ........worm is not considered signifi- ........cant.
....• A cost study shows a 41 cent re- ........turn on every dollar invested in ........a chemical control program.
....Leapin’ Lizards, Sandy, why did we have to go through that whole confusing grade B movie plot last year of yelling crowds and cries of doom to be told this year that the whole exercise is dropped because it’s not important. Come now, chaps, ‘tis bad enough to be confused by hydrogen bomb extinction, but let’s have a bit of balance on these kinds of local issues. Thank you kindly.
....We move on to “How Not To Put Logs In The Water And Go Broke.” One can see the clear thinking of our elected and unelected lads in Ottawa sitting around the campfire discussing the pros and cons of transporting logs on the west coast of Canada – all by barge – or possibly by tunnel from the Queen Charlottes and Vancouver Island to the big city markets of the Vancouver Area.
....Now all this is well and good – not to contaminate the salt waters of B.C.’s coast with nasty old log booms. But if those campfire boys on the Ottawa River want to keep some tax dollars from coming in from the coastal forest industry, they better get their act together and start cleaning up some other nasties in the salt water too. Like oil, sewage, and other man made messes.
....Certainly this industry needs to watchdog the losses of logs in salt water and protect our shoreline from unnecessary debris. But for the campfire boys to dream up a confusing
page 36  
British Columbia Lumberman, April, 1978

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (. page break )

issue of not letting logs be put in salt water, is tantamount to closing down an industry that supports a great many of our west coast population. Better they should clean up their own St. Lawrence River system first!
....It seems a bit of a paradox in this last confusing issue that management and labor in the forest industry stand together in their opposition to gover-nment policy. Both see high costs and as loss of jobs. It is not that often these two sides find common ground, but of late we have seen a widening of their opinions on certain forest policy. This, of course, can only spell good for the industry as a whole. I feel sure that with both sides pressing their common interest it will be very difficult to keep the issue confusing to the public.
....Environmentally, the two issues of Waterborne and Spraying are sound. We all want a clean province, but to hastily correct the years of past abuses might prove to be just plain too costly to our taxpayers. And after all, that’s where the dollar comes to roost.
....If nothing else, the above confusing issues only help to point out the need for sound sensible statements and the credibility to go with those statements as spoken by the forest industry people. This industry is not noted in the history books as always letting the public know its reasons for certain issues. It has assumed a lot over the years because it is big and important to the economy of the province or the country. But now more and more people speak out on issues that are not always justified on economic value al-
one. The recent VanPly issue is one of note.
....This industry has bettered itself in the communications line in a few short years because it had to. Public relations officers should not hold jobs only to come to the rescue of a problem, but should be prepared with pen in hand to anticipate industry problems and thereby avoid the confusion before the problem becomes so muddled.
....‘Tis the day of: lay it on the line; speak clear; and avoid confusion, in this forest around us. That is, if we want a better informed public. After all, that public is also us.
.........................Keep out of the bight,
..........................................Bill Moore
British Columbia Lumberman, April, 1978  
page 37