Anzac tragedy

Articles featuring the director of bark beetle response (Aug. 20 and 23) paint a tidy picture of the forest industry’s approach to ‘managing’ insect outbreaks. Nothing has changed since the 1980s, when the forest ministry supported the pillaging of the Bowron.

One of the most pernicious lies of modern forestry is that you can log your way out of an insect outbreak. In reality, the only way to stop an outbreak is to somehow control the antecedent conditions. Without time travel and control of the climate at our disposal, this is impossible.

article continues below

What foresters won’t tell you is that wildlife habitat and ecological functions persist in beetle-attacked stands. Forests recover far sooner from beetle outbreaks if left alone, but are severely compromised by logging. Dead trees play an ecological role equal to or greater than their role as living trees; they are not wasted ‘fibre’.

Insect outbreaks occur gradually; the forest canopy opens up to light as needles die and fall. Some trees remain unharmed, and the forest floor remains intact. Within a year or two the forest responds to the availability of light and nutrients with accelerated growth. Fallen spruce trees open up the soil for establishment of a new generation.

Logging, on the other hand, is sudden, violent, and likely lethal if you’re a nesting bird, a crawling amphibian, a denning bear or fisher, a sensitive rare plant, or a surviving 30 year-old tree.

The Anzac valley is the poster child for the shortsighted management the director of bark beetle response glowingly describes. The area was identified by fish and wildlife biologists as intact wilderness only a few years ago. It was a stronghold for wildlife including moose, wolves, grizzlies, bull trout, and grayling.

Instead of protecting the Anzac, the director’s office allowed accelerated logging under the pretense of managing spruce beetle. A pipeline has been granted permission to drive machines through fish-bearing streams and dig open trenches across riverbeds to drop pipes into the ground.

According to biologists who have surveyed the Anzac river for decades, it has run clear no matter how high or low the water level. On Saturday, it looked like chocolate milk. This unprecedented turbidity event coincides with the onslaught of industrial activity.

We have no expectations of corporations doing right by our forests. Our question is, why are public servants like the Director of Bark Beetle Response facilitating this abuse of nature?

Michelle Connolly

Benita Kaytor

Prince George

Read Related Topics


NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Prince George Citizen welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. Comments that contain external links will not be permitted. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Casting your ballot POLL

How will you be casting your ballot in the upcoming provincial election?

or  view results

Popular Citizen

Lowest Gas Prices in Prince George
Prince George Gas Prices provided by