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Letters: Clearcutting costs salmon – and us

'If SCCF continues to ignore the science, climate reality and their own eyes and experience of last November, we are heading for many more road washouts and homes destroyed by floods.'
N.Landslide
Debris and downed trees near the Sechelt-Dakota forest service road after the Nov. 15, 2021 landslide.

Editor: 

My letter is prompted by the letter from Tony Greenfield (SC Community Forest) in response to Sara Lowis (Living Forest Institute). I am the president of SC Streamkeepers Society. Clearcutting forests destroys stable ecosystems, seriously affecting the natural hydrology of a watershed. The atmospheric river this past November had catastrophic consequences; the unprecedented weather event due to climate change wiped out most of the salmon Redds (nests) in the creeks on the Sunshine Coast. The severe flooding took out numerous creek culverts and roads. 

We are not living in normal times, and we must transition to new ways of doing things, that includes logging sustainably and in appropriate locations. 

The argument that we must continue to decimate forests directly above our communities, destabilizing the ground for more wood products is frankly, ludicrous! This can be confirmed by a new study by UBC that challenges a well-established wisdom on how logging affects flood risk, issued in 2019 that reads:  

“Depending on the extent of harvested area and the size of flood events, larger harvest or cut rates resulted in two, three, and fourfold increases in the frequency of large floods. 

“These outcomes run counter to the prevailing wisdom in hydrological science. The co-authors suggest that these outcomes have major implications for the safety of drainage structures such as bridges and dams, human settlements, drinking water quality, and the sustainability of riverine ecosystems.” 

If SCCF continues to ignore the science, climate reality and their own eyes and experience of last November, we are heading for many more road washouts and homes destroyed by floods. I urge the SCCF to first consider the benefits of intact forests, not only to the natural world including salmon, but to all of us so we can safely live here on the Sunshine Coast. 

Shirley Samples, Roberts Creek 

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