TORONTO – The logging industry and clear-cutting of old-growth forests were contributing to the severity of the flood crisis, says a conservationist and forest management expert.

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Experts have long warned that the steepness of slopes, including how fast water is absorbed into the ground and the disintegration of the vast root systems that hold the soil, markedly affects its surroundings. Without forests, heavy rains can wash sediments into water systems, suffocating them and causing them to overflow rapidly, leading to flooding.

Canopy Planet conservationist and forest management expert Peter Wood said on Granthshala’s Your Morning Monday that the connection between the logging industry and what is unfolding in the province cannot be denied.

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“Healthy mature forest with a well-developed canopy and a rich understory kind of function like a giant sponge, it slowly absorbs and releases water – ‘everything in moderation’ if you wish,” Wood said. said. “The root structures hold the soil up to steep slopes; they have been in development for thousands of years.”

Wood said logging has been shown to have a sharp impact on the environment, such as landslides that result from logging and road construction on steep slopes, as well as impacts on watershed levels in the province, where logging hampers industry capacity. . Forest to control the flow of water.

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“It’s kind of intuitive that when you remove tree cover, especially on steep slopes, it’s going to increase the rate at which water flows into creeks without root structures that leads to erosion. It is,” said Wood. “That’s what science confirms.”

wood recently referred study at the university of british columbia It was found that logging can result in a four-fold increase in the frequency of major floods.

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is wood author of a recent report Created in partnership with Sierra Club BC on the relationship between forest management and severe climate impacts “title”Intact Forest, Safe Community,

It found that the province could reduce climate disasters such as floods, droughts and fires by improving the logging industry, applying indigenous knowledge to decisions relating to forestry, and protecting and restoring the remaining intact forests in the province.

The report said that most of the 15 climate risks identified in BC’s Strategic Climate Risk Assessment in 2019 were affected by logging, but the assessment did not take into account how logging worsens climate risks – something that Which the report refers to as the “major”. blind spot.”

The timber production and logging industry is a major cornerstone of BC’s economy, with one of its largest exports being timber and paper products. Existing laws in the province explicitly allow old-growth forests to be cut down at extraordinary rates.

Provincial data says that about 447,000 acres of forest are logged annually, 70 percent of which comes from the BC interior. A 2017 Sierra Club BC analysis showed that 10,000 hectares of old-growth forest was logged in a year on Vancouver Island.

This is not the first time that the logging and forestry industry has been named a major factor in flood disasters.

Residents of Grand Forks, B.C., a community about 520 kilometers east of Vancouver, launched a proposed class action lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court last year, alleging mismanagement of the forestry industry and reckless logging, leading to disastrous 2018 There was a flood.

Wood said of the needed logging industry reform, “It’s really a matter of priorities, what we really need is a paradigm shift, where we put the safety of communities first and then look at what kind of timber.” quantity is possible.”

“We really need to focus on the health of the forest and our real long-term vision, rather than these ‘near-term’ timber objectives,” he continued. “We have a chance here to protect some of the remaining forests we have, restore the rest [and] Manage it permanently. ,

Wood reiterates in his report that indigenous knowledge is paramount in reforestation, and that First Nations communities are often on the front lines of climate change-induced extreme weather events.

“The climate crisis affects all of us, but it has especially devastating repercussions for vulnerable and marginalized people, including First Nations across the province, who have limited capacity and capacity to respond to climate disasters. resources and whose areas are high-risk areas that corporations and governments want to develop,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said in a news release for Wood’s report.

Nine First Nations communities are currently under evacuation orders in BC, with a total of 41 communities affected. On Sunday, members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) arrived in some of the more isolated communities.

Defense Minister Anita Anand said CAF was re-supplying essential items, including 3,000 pounds of food, to Nuich First Nation communities near Merritt.

The CAF is rushing to fill sandbags to assist the Chawthill First Nation on traditional land in Fraser Canyon: People in Fraser Canyon, which is expecting more rain.

BC now has more than 500 soldiers on the ground assisting with recovery efforts.

Wood’s insight into how provinces and countries can slow the effects of climate change in relation to the logging and forestry industry comes as a second “atmospheric river” is expected to hit B.C. this time along the north coast. Is.

Environment Canada warned of dangerous winter conditions In a bulletin updated on Sunday morning, that included heavy snowfall in inland parts of the region.

Snow is likely to turn into heavy rain as temperatures rise, causing more floods or landslides due to melting snow.

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With files from Granthshala News Vancouver and Granthshala.ca author Alexandra May Jones