Originally published on the Discovery Islander
Mosaic’s 2022 Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) for TimberWest is a legal document describing in general terms how the forests of Tree Farm Licence 47 on Quadra Island will be treated during the next five years. Except for changed dates and a few bureaucratic adjustments, it is ostensibly identical to its 2017 predecessor, an indication that Mosaic’s management objectives have been unaltered by the climate crisis that is now occupying the attention of every thoughtful and informed human being on our planet. Their corporate activity is unchanged, as if they were somehow exempt from any responsibility for “heat domes”, “atmospheric rivers” and the other extraordinary weather anomalies that have and will continue to plague us.
Sadly, 2021 was just a prelude to what we can expect. The prospects are sobering for ourselves, for our children’s children, and for the animals and plants that have been our treasured companions in this beleaguered Eden of places. And the dire consequences are unstoppable unless we change how we conduct ourselves as individuals, as governments, and as corporations. Through convolutions that will be too complicated to anticipate, business as usual will inevitably take us to a succession of eventual catastrophes.
For us, on Quadra Island, our greatest contribution to solving the climate crisis would be to reform the way our forests are treated. They sequester carbon, provide biodiversity, regulate climate, stabilize watersheds, and enrich our lives with recreation sites, all while offering a real, as well as a symbolic, modicum of optimism as antidote to the unspoken fear and looming despair that is beginning to permeate our lives.
Mosaic’s new FSP offers nothing in the form of any consoling or practical solutions to this despair. That it is ostensibly identical to its 2017 FSP reveals how disconnected its corporate reality is from the one that demands attention. Aside from token concessions, it also exposes Mosaic’s indifference to many years of input from a concerned community regarding issues of recreation, scenery, tourism, species protection, biodiversity, watershed management, old growth forests, and now climate change. Any concern that interferes with Mosaic’s logging plans is met with a bureaucratic dismissal from a corporation that believes it knows all that needs to be known about forests, their role in global ecosystems, and their relationship to the wellbeing of a community. Mosaic incorrectly assumes that its corporate interests correspond to those of Quadra Islanders and, indeed, the entire planet.
For example, on Quadra Island specifically, regarding “Recreation Resources” in section 7.3, their proposed FSP reads: “Although Recreation Sites and Trails have been legally established, no formal objectives (as required by FRSP [Forest and Range Practices Act], S. 181) were established and therefore no Result or Strategy is required in this FSP.”
Even old growth trees and forests, which are specified in 7.1 for “retention” are protected only “to the extent practicable.” This caveat provides freedom to log any such trees that find themselves to be inconveniently located. Regardless, in forest industry jargon, “retention” doesn’t necessarily mean they will be retained.
As for the community’s decades of work and concerns about maintaining wild salmon populations in Hyacinthe Creek, the FSP is entirely dismissive of any such concern or any obligation to respond. The relevant Section 7.5, “Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds”, reads as follows: “Not applicable. No fisheries sensitive watersheds continued under section 180(f) exist in the plan area.” Regardless, in Section 8.5, under the heading of “Water, Fish, Wildlife & Biodiversity Within Riparian Areas”, any objective to “conserve” these natural assets must be done “without unduly reducing the supply of timber from British Columbia forests.”
This is the proviso that populates all the measures that are supposed to protect the health of forest ecologies in Tree Farm Licences. Every protection is overridden by the sacrosanct right to log. All concerns expressed by the Quadra community are expected to comply with the condition that they do not unduly limit timber supply, a stipulation that makes a mockery of any criticism of logging practices on our island.
Section 9 in the FSP, designated as “Quadra Consultation”, is worth careful consideration because it defines the actual relationship between the Quadra community and Mosaic. It reads: “This section is provided for information only. It is not considered a legal part of this FSP. TimberWest is committed to maintaining the level of consultation with specific stakeholder groups in the plan area covered by this FSP. This consultation is not a legal requirement of [the] Forest and Range Practices Act and therefore, represents a voluntary commitment by the holder of this FSP to undertake and support this consultation process.” In other words, Mosaic’s consultation with the community is non-binding, any agreements will have to conform to Mosaic’s criteria, they occur only at the pleasure of Mosaic, and they are extraneous to any legal dimensions of the FSP. The FSP effectively defines Mosaic as the sole arbiter of whatever happens on TFL 47 on Quadra Island. Without ownership, Mosaic is authorized to function as if it owns this public land.
A loss of meaningful influence by the Quadra community creates frustration, tension, anger and resentment, feelings that are exacerbated by the obvious global imperative to do something substantial enough to at least mitigate the collapse of Earth’s life-sustaining ecosystems. Mosaic, as a corporation, with a disproportionally greater influence than any individual, has an enlarged responsibility to help alleviate this unfolding crisis.
for Sierra Quadra
Letters of concern can be sent to:
Jennifer Peschke RPF,
Area Forester, Mosaic Forest Management, Box 2800 Campbell River, B.C., V9W 5C5
or: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Top image credit: Trees growing within one of the cutblocks on Granite Road, Quadra Island (licensee unknown) – Photo by Roy L Hales