Forests in the age of climate change
Over the last 20 years, carbon emissions from logging practices, forest fires and insect infestations have risen dramatically. We understand that annual carbon emissions from our forests are larger than those generated by vehicles. While forestry is a significant problem in BC at this point, it is also the area offering the most potential for climate resolutions. Forests create carbon sinks and are the only proven and practical way to remove large volumes of carbon from the atmosphere.
What do you see as the most effective forestry policies to radically reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change impacts?
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New Democratic Party
Conservation is a vital way to protect ecosystems and preserve biodiversity. New Democrats will protect 30% of our land, freshwater, and oceans by 2030 and back those protections with funding and enforcement. We’ll also work with other levels of government to develop a system of urban national parks – and a national approach to tree-planting, using responsible reforestation to help lower our carbon footprint.
As stated in the question, trees are one of the most effective natural ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere and help us fight climate change. That’s why I am fully supportive of the commitment to plant 2 billion trees, which will be an important part of our plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This will help create about 3,500 seasonal jobs in tree planting each year, and will be part of a $3 billion commitment to better conserve and restore forests, grasslands, agricultural lands, wetlands, and coastal areas.
As part of this commitment, we will also help cities expand and diversify their urban forests, will invest to protect Canada’s trees from infestations, and will help rebuild our forests after a wildfire.
To protect more of Canada for our kids and grandkids to enjoy, our plan is to move forward with an ambitious plan to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent in each by 2030. I intend to advocate for this to include some of the world’s last intact old growth temperate rainforests that we have here in BC as well as other areas that are important to our ecosystem.
Canada’s old-growth forests, like the western red cedar forests of the Coast, are particularly important for their recreational, ecological, economic and cultural significance. B.C.’s old growth forests are among the best carbon sinks in the world, but 75 per cent has been logged, including 90 per cent of productive valley bottom old growth. Old growth forests hold so much water that they’re a defence against the increasing threat of wildfires, and they’re crucial to the health of watersheds, salmon, and surrounding ecosystems.
The climate emergency not only demands a rapid shift off fossil fuels, we also need to embark on a massive tree planting effort and protect old-growth forests from fires and logging. This massive initiative will replenish forests that have been decimated by fires or logging, and help buffer cities against heat waves.
The Green Party will:
- Plant 30,000 hectares of trees every year until 2050.
- Create thousands of jobs and our workers’ transition plan will help displaced forestry workers find new jobs in renewable forestry and other sectors.
- Renew the abandoned National Forest Strategy, and focus on creating ecologically sound and climate-resilient forests.
- Restore forests to health, to contribute in the fight against the climate crisis, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.
- Put people to work creating fire breaks around remote communities and invest in more water bombers to combat forest fires
The forest industry is a complex one. The closure and curtailment of softwood lumber mills has devastated communities across BC. This has led to a number of job losses, which we must acknowledge and address. However, we must acknowledge the impact forestry practices have on the environment. An ideal solution is a balance between the environmental impact and economic impact of forestry when determining policy. One method to reduce carbon emissions is investment in Green Technology, as proposed in our Real Plan, including the application and utilizing of our Green initiatives appropriate to the forestry industry. After October 21, a Conservative government will develop detailed policy around this specific issue.
I wholeheartedly support the Canada Fresh Party’s plan for water bombers to help mitigate wildfires, and for tree farms to plant new trees.
Canada Fresh Party
Plan and build new tree farms like they have in New Zealand. Have our Air Force purchase and fly, water bombers. Concentrate on rejuvenation not logging (read answer to first question).
Doug (Robert) Bebb
There is no pressing need to reduce CO2 emissions so this should not be a priority in forestry or anywhere else. At the same time, proper forestry harvest practice is important for other reasons, such as the decline of fish stocks mentioned in Question 3. Done properly, forestry is a great example of sustainable industry.