If you go into the woods today..

You might be in for a surprise. Is it about more than a teddy bears picnic? With the B.C. Government’s Area-Based Forest Tenure Consultation set to wrap up in Vancouver today and tomorrow, there’s certainly a range of opinion to explore.

Canfor president and CEO Don Kayne is on the record at his blog: “In our view, this is absolutely not the time for major changes to tenure administration. Given the uncertainty regarding the state of our forests, we believe that there are many higher priorities that would yield greater positive impacts. We feel the benefits of area-based tenures are marginal at best. The public opposition to this proposal is a deal breaker. It risks setting forest companies against our public landowners and giving the impression that area-based tenures are an attempt by our sector to assert more control over a public resource.” 

“So who is behind the government’s push to change our volume based system to area based tenures?” asks professional agrologist and forester Jim Hilton in a thought-provoking piece here, in the Williams Lake Tribune. Hilton figures “there are two companies in favour of the conversion.”

“Don Kayne is worried that this is going to set off another war in the woods,” explained Norm Macdonald, Opposition Forests Critic, at a Debate of the Legislative Assembly earlier this month (see transcript here). Macdonald was Deputy Chair of the Special Committee on Timber Supply back in 2012. He feels now that the committee’s recommendations are being “misrepresented”. Citing a political agenda, Macdonald says “All we’re talking about is TFL rollovers,” calling the consultation “a sham”.

What says Minister of Forests Steve Thomson? “We are responding directly to the recommendations, and as I’ve said clearly, the way forward will be informed by those consultations and by the recommendations of Jim Snetsinger, a well-respected former chief forester who is leading the process for us.”

I hope to learn more in a scheduled meeting tomorrow morning with Snetsinger, who was himself a technical advisor to the Special Committee on Timber Supply.

“In Victoria, there seems to be a mindset that attrition and decline of traditional forest products is inevitable and OK. That’s woefully wrong. Most of the $1.5 billion spent to date (on the pine beetle crisis) has been aimed at dealing with impacts. There’s nothing wrong with that. But only about one-third of the money spent has gone back into improving the land base and growing forests for tomorrow.”
– Peter Woodbridge, Woodbridge Associates, Political Leadership Needed to Reform B.C.’s Inefficient Forest Tenure (July, 2012)

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