............THE FOREST






‘The Declining Forest’

"T he annual allowable cut of
Canadian softwood has dropped twenty percent in the past five years.” This quote from a recent government strategy paper issued to the forest industry in Canada.
....This statement would have to be of interest to anyone who derives, directly or indirectly, their living from the forest industry. The statement will be lauded by most environmentalists, but I would venture to guess that ninety-eight percent of Mr. & Mrs. Average Public will pay little or no attention to it.
....To establish a few facts: One job in ten is provided directly or indirectly in Canada by forestry. Sales of forest products last year amounted to more than twenty two billion dollars – a boost to our Canadian economy that could not be touched by other basic industries.
....Here in British Columbia we produce 25 percent of the world’s pulp and about 25 percent of North America’s softwood lumber production. Very impressive figures that can certainly be affected by the leading quote in this article. Could you imagine the chaos that would result in our economy if this decline is allowed to continue for another five or 10 years? And it well could if we don’t wake up and put a stop to it.
....First off, why is it happening? Why would anyone want to take such a huge amount of forest land out of our allow-able cut and leave less to be cut? Who would be responsible for such a blatant act of removing jobs and dollars from our economy?
....Well, it’s certainly not someone from Mars that is doing it. It’s just good old – or young – Canadian politicians, from the lower strata of municipal govern-ments, through provincial governments to the big chaps in Ottawa. They are the

ones that pass laws that change boundaries and tenure.
....And to follow the above further, the politicians are motivated to make these forest boundary changes by pressure from the public. I’d like to talk about the politicians – a bit. The pressure – a bit. And the public – a lot.
....The forest industry – to include management, government forest agen-cies and forest unions – have never been noted for their sound public relations policy – re what and why they are doing. To all of them, the public is someone out there who buys the forest products – be it here in Canada, the U.S.AS. or in some remote country on the globe.
....Until not too long ago the public was barred by gates on logging roads and had to endure great quantities of really unnecessary slash smoke each fall. Only recently in B.C. are children being taught in school a basic under-standing of our forests. And while the public was told that nearly all the forest land in B.C. is owned by the Crown (the public), just try and find a campsite in those same forests a few short years ago.
....It is of course a bit of a different tune one hears today from our forest leaders, since they have come to realize the power of public persuasion pointed at the politician.
....Let’s look at the forest land taken out of the allowable cut and turned over to park land. Where once the environmental groups were laughed at and called hippies, they are to be reckoned with today. And they, through public support across this land, have given cause to the creation of millions of acres of forested parkland that was once counted in the allowable cut.
....Municipalities and towns across the land have added on pieces of land for

their own growth or parks etc. One cannot certainly argue with such need, but nevertheless, it definitely has played a part in the declining forest.
....The point I wish to make is not that it is necessarily wrong to dedicate new parks and expand municipalities and towns by utilizing ‘untouchable’ forest areas that have formed – in default – in the minds of the public.
....‘Park” trees are inviolate to so much of the public, but only because that public has not been properly informed by management, government and unions, that forests are a living thing and to keep them healthy and cared for, old veterans and thinnings and windfalls should be removed. Canadians were ‘given’ one of the great forest areas of the world. We didn’t have to grow our first crop, it was out there to be used to benefit our people. A forest is no different than a garden. Look after it and it will produce. Ignore it and you will have crop failure.
....Germany – in the Black Forest – has been practicing intensive forestry for 500 years. There, as in other for-ested countries of Europe, you will find an entirely different attitude tow-ard trees, forests and forest industries.
....We have the volume of a ‘gift forest’ in Canada that, properly mana-ged, can sustain clear cut policy and any other site specific policy that is required for proper forest manage-ment. But we have to have the public on our side, and they must trust us.
....Possibly when I say “trust us,” you might wonder what I’m talking about. Because of the uncontested stories of waste on the forest floor. Smog from slash fires and until quite recently, the ‘no admittance’ signs on logging roads, the industry does not hold a very good image in the mind of ‘average public.’


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....Because teachers have been ignored by the industry – yes, it’s changing – the picture that too many teachers gave to pupils was one of ‘the rape of the forest.’
....But the above – together with the very real and tragic accident and death rate in the woods – and you have an industry that the public simply does not understand and forms a distrustful attitude towards. Because they don’t trust us, they want more parks before we log off the whole country. And they don’t understand about selective logging in parks, because they think we’ll fool them and clear cut it!
....There are getting to be vast areas of slash covered up from the vision of the public by great fences of trees. I hear people talk about ‘eye pollution’ and a ‘disgusting mess’ when they view a logged over slash. I agree with them, if the areas are not cleaned up to a proper low volume of fibre. And too often this is still the case. But it is a sad commentary on our industry – and again I mean management, government and union – that because we have had such inexpensive fibre, in relation to other parts of the world, we have allowed ‘waste’ to occur too easily by the excuse of ‘economically unjustified recovery.’ But today our standards of allowable waste are diminishing and we should not have to hide vast slash areas behind strips of forest that are vulnerable to blowdown. Slash is not eye pollution to those who understand the work – only to the affluent.
....The slums of our cities are true eye pollution in material waste and human waste. The sides of our highways are true eye pollution in old wrecks and torn down buildings. But real eye pollution is a TV screen that shows the carnage of war, vast oil spills or death on the highway from drunken drivers.
....To allow the public to get the impression – as they have – that log-ging is eye pollution, is and has been a cop out of intelligent people in the forest industry.
....Canadians can’t afford the luxury of not liking slash and having millions of acres of trees left standing to protect the eyesight of the public. We can’t afford the luxury of sealing off untold ,millions of acres of forest land in parks without having sound and economical programs to selectively log those parks.
....I note the odd union leader getting on his feet now and talking about the need of Canada’s future forests. I say


welcome and you should have been here a long time ago. We need your voice to add to the others to get Canadians to start feeling pride in their forests – pride in the forest industry and the knowledge that this industry can be trusted with its task.
....As we gradually turn to new planted forests for our future production, we must assure that we build a better attitude in the minds of Canadians toward forests and forestry. We need double and triple the number of foresters we now have, to tend our ‘crops’ and our ‘heritage stands’ in parks. We need research money as


never before from those same politicians who are bowing to the pressures of groups all over this country. It is time that the tax dollars from forestry were used to keep our forests thriving instead of declining.
....Next to the people around us, the forest around us is Canada’s most valuable asset. It won’t be if we allow the decline to continue.

Keep out of the bight,

Bill Moore