Canadian forest "facts" clarified by Canadian Consul General

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at ipns.com
Wed Aug 29 12:09:00 EST 2001


>From The Oregonian, Aug. 28, 2001, p C10

To The Editor:

Canadian forest facts clarified

	Your editorial on the lumber trade dispute between Canada and the
United States ("Knock on wood," Aug. 1`9) was among the fairest and
most honest I have seen in a U.S. newspaper.
	There are, however, two items on which I woiuld like to offer some
friendly clarification.
	Canada does not subsidize its forest industry. Canada and the United
States hae different systems of ownership and management, and
"different" does not equal "subsidized."
	You state that, "It's also a fact that the US has placed touger
environmental regulations on public-lands logging than those that
exist in Canada." This statement is wrong on two counts.
	First, every credible independent study on the relative merits of
forest practices in our two countries shows that, overall, Canadian
forestry laws are far superior to those in most of the United States.
British Columbia in particular has perhaps the toughest forest
practices code in North America, followed closely by Oregon and
Washington.
	Second, public-lands logging in the United States represents only a
small fraction of U.S. logging: most takes place on private lands,
where tougher federal regulations do not apply.
	In Canada, on the other hand, virtually all forest land is owned by
the public and therefore subject to strict environmental regulation
and constant public scrutiny.

ROGER SIMMONS
Consul General of Canada
Seattle

Comment by poster: Simmons alleges that Canadian forest practices are
less environmentally damaging than in the US. However, the forest
"practices" of clearcutting on Vancouver, where the only known
populations of several fungi have been found, would have to be
considered questionable at the very least. These fungi are
mycorrhizal, so are important to the ability of these trees to survive
stress conditions. (Stress, here, does not mean clearcut.)

Simmons claims Canada doesn't subsidize forest products. I find that
_extremely_ questionable, especially considering Canada's past forest
practices.

One of those has been well documented in Mushroom, The Journal of Wild
Mushrooming. In the 1990's proposed clearcuts in BC were called into
question by people living on those lands. They questioned the economic
basis for the cut, citing the value of matsutake (Tricholoma
magnivelare) to the local people from the proposed clearcut sites. The
Canadian government cut them anyway. This occurred at Bela Coola, and
at least one other site in B.C., according to M the J.

It seems to me, and to others here in the US, that Canadian
protestations not to the contrary, the Canadian government is, in
fact, subsidizing their timber harvesting. Regardless of the
spin-doctoring some may use to obfuscate the issues.

Under the ROD for the Northern Spotted Owl, many plants, animals and
fungi are placed at heightened risk factors for extinction or
decreased viability. To date, I am unaware of _any_ such comparable
rules in Canada. I hope that Mr. Simmons will be able to respond to
these concerns.

Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com




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