Are we overlogging our forests?

From: (Gwethalyn Gauvreau)
Newsgroups: bc.general
Subject: Overlogging and Jobs
Date: 13 Oct 93 13:57:38 GMT
Organization: The University of British Columbia
Lines: 60
Distribution: bc
Recently Vaughn Palmer has been discussing the implications of the handful of timber supply reports commissioned by the government and now completed. (Vancouver Sun, Oct. 6 - 8). Robert Smits in is recent post allows that there has been some overlogging in some areas. The government's own reports state that so far all the areas have been extensively overlogged in relation to sustainability. For example the midcoast area centered on Bella Bella the approved cut was 3 times what could be sustained in the long run.

It is my belief that almost everyone not blinded by fear of losing their livlihood knows that BC has been extensively overlogged and that we are facing a severe downturn in the logging industry not due to environmentalist acitivity but due to very short term thinking. If we think in the long term with the goal of keeping the industry going beyond say the next 20 years then we are facing a cut in AAC of 14 to 20%. A cut of only 10% will result in the loss of 30,000 jobs and a mini-recession for BC. Basically the human cost will be borne by the workers who now misguidedly support the large corporations. Since when has the company really concerned itself with the workers? Many people I have spoken to who have dealt with the big forest companies on the management level have told me that they all knew this was coming 15 to 20 years ago. They are going to take the money and run and leave the workers to pay the price. I feel so frustatrated listening to the workers who support the companies. You have been fooled into thinking that those of us who don't want to lose the last remaining forests before the inevitable industry decline are the enemy. We are not. As far as I can see, we are the only ones asking for company support for retraining, the only ones who are trying to stress the importance of secondary industries, of locally worker owned forest industries and the only ones willing to put ourselves on the line to make the public aware.

Basically a lot of the forest industry workers have been at the trough too and they have been paid salaries of$80,000 and more a year to cut the trees down. To me this is the way the forest companies have bribed the workers into sharing the guilt but the big profits are going into other pockets and all of us in BC are going to be left to pick up the pieces. For many of the people involved in logging it is going to be very difficult to face how they have been complicit in the exceedlingly poor management of resources that belong to all of us. But as the facts come in it will become clearer and clearer that we have been overcutting for years and that even after you cut all the old growth, the forest industry will still have to lay off thousands of workers.

Did you know that the eastern coast of Russia has forests like British Columbia had 150 years ago? That the forest companies invest their money for maximum return anywhere in the world and feel no loyality to BC in particular?

For all of you who are spouting the forest industry line because your livlihood depends on it, wouldn't it be better to face the truth that the industry is dying because of greedy mismanagement and your security would be better served by coming up with ways to deal with the inevitable decline of the industry? There is no large corporation that has ever taken resposibility for its workers when there was no profit in doing so and I predict that many of you will be repaid for your loyality with lay off notices.

The environmentalists are not the enemy, we are the whistleblowers. It isn't the news you want to hear but I think it is the truth and we may be better friends to the workers than you think.

Stephen Samuel (
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