Monday, April 09, 2007

Bad Forest Management And Climate Change

What is worse climate change or climate change and pine beetles? Well according to industry sources the later. But note the highlighted section of this article, the industry itself is to blame for the beetle infestation because of its forestry practices. You don't need a weatherman to know why the forests don't grow.

Industry says climate change already impacting forests

Governments and all industry sectors in Canada must quickly "re-tool" to deal with climate change, says the Forest Products Association of Canada.

Avrim Lazar, the association's president, said the forestry industry is already witnessing a manifestation of climate change -a mountain pine beetle epidemic -destroy massive tracts of valuable forest.

"Canada has been protected by its cold weather forever," said Jim Fyles, scientific director of the Sustainable Forest Management Network and McGill University professor.

But now, in addition to the pine beetle, "there may be all sorts of bugs ... whose populations, always kept low by these cold winters, will increase as the temperatures rise," he said.

The development of useful policies and practices is required, Fyles said. In the forestry sector, for instance, the creation of a forest that is resistant or resilient to pests, should be a prime goal.

In Western Canada, past practices involving forest management and forest fire management have often worked to create "almost pure stands" of one species of tree.

A mixed forest featuring different species and trees of all ages creates "a landscape that is much more difficult for these epidemics to propagate in," Fyles said.




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Ken Chapman said...

Eugene - those forest management methods may have been standard in the past - long time ago. HOw the biodiveristy and protection of habitat, water, soil and replanting is exemplary in Alberta's forests...done by forest compnaies.

The oil and gas guys are another story. Not much of a stewardship concern in those corporate cultures are there yet.

Mountian Pine Beetle is a disaster - and makes those parts of Alberta where it has infiltrated the first really significant casualties of global warming in the province.

Prevention is impossble, mitigiation is difficult, leaving adaptation as the only viable strategy.

eugene plawiuk said...

Ken I think you are being naive about how long ago these practices have been supposedly out of date. Been up around Whitecourt or Hinton, they are clearing pine forests and replanting pine forests for soft wood production. And while we are at it the royalties we Albertans get for monoculture tree farming are as ridiculously low as those we get from the Tarsands companies.

Corie Marie said...

I would like to point out, as a forestry student, that these out-of-date practices are being pushed by old government legislation. If the forest companies had been allowed to do as they wished regarding the pine beetle, its effects could have been mitigated. But unfortunately, those companies operating on crown land must do as the crown tells them to. I am not saying forest companies never do boneheaded things (believe me, I have witnessed them!), but in this case, the companies themselves, cannot be to blame when they are operating under old and out of date law.

Doug said...

I thought readers might be interested in my recently completed report on "Forests, Carbon & Global Warming."
Size 2 MB - File type MS Word

The report explains how climate change is likely to affect Pacific Northwest forests as well as how forest conservation and restoration may help mitigate climate change. The report also helps debunk some of the flawed arguments used by logging advocates.

Feel free to contact me if you have any comments/questions.

Doug Heiken