Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ISLAND TIMBERLANDS AND CORTES ISLAND

Island Timberlands planned to start our 2012/2013 forest harvest activities on Cortes Island on November 27. Our staff and contractors were impeded from going to work on this day by masked individuals who refused to allow our workers to pass when requested to do so. A second attempt to access our property and start forest harvest related activities on November 28 was also denied.

We have received questions about our private managed forest land and planned harvest activities on Cortes Island and we would like to take the opportunity to provide some facts that are not being widely reported:

o Island Timberlands has owned property on Cortes Island since its inception in 2005; our entire property is designated Managed Forest and is zoned Forestry in the Regional District Official Community Plan.

o We have been listening to the concerns of the community since 2006 having hosted and participated in community meetings, individual visits with our neighbours and focussed discussions with a select group of environmental advocates from Cortes Island.

o At the request of the community:
  • We committed to not operating during the peak summer tourist season.
  • We have changed the size, boundaries and harvest designs of our planned harvest areas to address issues brought to our attention by the community.
  • We have hired a contractor based in nearby Campbell River to complete our forest harvest and related activities on Cortes. This contractor has subsequently hired members of the Klahoose First Nation as well as non-First Nations Cortes residents as part of our commitment to employ locally.
o Similar to each of the communities we operate in and around, we are interested in hearing from our neighbours; we have and will continue to commit to meeting with individuals who would like to learn more about our plan and business.

The most common requests we have received are:

o Do not clear-cut your property:
  • We have no plans to clear-cut in any of our blocks on Cortes – our silviculture system is “Variable Retention” (VR) consistent with the non-clearcut definition in government legislation.
  • VR requires 50% forest influence and dispersed single trees or groups of retained trees throughout the block of which we have planned both.
o Apply 100-meter no-harvest zones (also known as riparian buffers) along all water bodies, consistent with the Central Coast Implementation Team:
  • There is no such blanket requirement for riparian buffers for the Central Coast Crown-tenured lands.
  • Cortes Island does not lie within British Columbia’s Central Coast region.
  • Our harvest plans have addressed concerns on water quality through the application of our internal Riparian Management standards (which have been externally designed and verified) to ensure site specific riparian buffers are in place around water bodies.
  • Our plans address all applicable legislative and certification requirements for protection of fish, fish habitat and water quality.
o Do not harvest the last one percent of old growth forest within the Coastal Douglas fir (CDF) zone:
  • This request refers to the Coastal Douglas fir (CDF) ecosystem that is found on the south-east portions of Vancouver Island and the mainland coast; the CDF zone is not found on Cortes Island.
  • Our private managed forest lands on Cortes Island are within the very common Coastal Western Hemlock (CWH) ecosystem.
  • The vast majority of our forests on Cortes are second growth trees; we also have some third growth plantations.
  • Where it is safe and operationally feasible to do so, we have committed to retaining the old growth trees that are scattered across our property.

Any questions should be addressed to environment@islandtimberlands.com.

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