Letter: Respect important wildlife areas

Interfor—please listen to the better angles of your corporate board nature and respect important wildlife areas, writes Barry Brandow.

The management of the Boundary Forest has no connection to forestry practices taught at our colleges and universities.

The most recent example of logging practices contemptuous of the public interest is the current logging in the Douglas fir zone, the important area for wintering deer immediately adjacent to the Gilpin grasslands.

The logging prescription Interfor was honour-bound to follow is well described on page 52 of the July 2008 Draft Management Plan for the proposed Gilpin-Morrissey Wildlife Management Area.

“The direction from the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan assigned the Gilpin landscape unit an Intermediate Biodiversity Option citing the important ungulate winter range, red, and blue listed species and high ecosystem representation. Forest development plans must therefore place an emphasis on maintaining natural levels of biodiversity and minimize the risk of eliminating native species.”

D.J. Spalding in his 1968 “The Boundary Deer Herd,” which is an easy read and can be found easily on the Internet, makes it very clear in his introduction, “The Boundary must be considered as one of the best mule and whitetail deer areas of the province.”

Spalding then highlights the importance of the interior Douglas fir zone by listing 13 shrub species critical to wintering mule and whitetail deer.

The Douglas fir zone immediately adjacent to the ponderosa pine grassland is the most critical area for wintering ungulates as it is an important refuge mid to late winter from deep snow and cold temperatures and provides adequate thermal cover with minimal snow cover allowing freedom of movement and access to feed.

Responsible logging practices demanded selective logging to open the forest canopy to facilitate the propagation of important shrub species critical to ungulates February-March, the critical time in their yearly struggle to survive.

Instead the new benchmark for logging practices throughout the Boundary is large clearcuts especially so in the lodgepole pine forest, a few meaningless standing trees and large piles of wooly debris a major reason the moose and pine martin populations have crashed province wide.

What is the measure of Minister Thomson’s message that appeared in a Black Press article titled “B.C. Wildlife Management Overhaul Coming” that appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette on April 20?  Thomson acknowledged more needs to be done. He said an additional $12 million  in his ministry budget this year is to support wildlife inventory and habitat improvement.

Will there be an announcement that the ongoing logging by Interfor in the interior Douglas fir zone adjacent to the Gilpin Grasslands will immediately subscribe to the minister’s former parliamentary secretary, Mike Morris’ recommendation that appeared in his August 15, 2015 report titled “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia”: “Simply put, new strategies are required to support impacted wildlife populations and the needed habitat to allow species to recover.”

Interfor—please listen to the better angles of your corporate board nature and respect important wildlife areas.

– Barry Brandow, Grand Forks

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