Every year in BC forest companies and government agencies spend millions of dollars to eliminate broadleaf species including aspen and birch from replanted conifer plantations.
The result is a plantation forest with far less biodiversity than before. Without broadleaf trees and shrubs, many species of northern forests could not survive.
The reason this is done is because the government actually requires it. Due to existing stocking standards, mixed forests are technically illegal. Unless the lumber company wants to face a penalty for failing to “reforest”, they have to eliminate all weed trees including aspen. Our natural mixed forests are being rapidly converted to simplified conifer stands throughout much of Central British Columbia.
A long-standing practice, we’ve sprayed or manually brushed over 1.3 million hectares of forest across the Province since 1980, an area a third the size of Vancouver Island. We still spray around 15,000 hectares a year today, mostly in the Central Interior.
This is a website that seeks to provide information on this activity and to pose a few questions:
- Why is it illegal to grow mixed forests with deciduous and coniferous components in BC?
- Will lodgepole pine monocultures survive as our climate warms?
- What if aspen and birch make our forests more resilient?
- Are we sure aspen and birch won’t have increasing commercial values into the future?
- Why won’t industry utilize aspen west of the Rockies?
- How do we know that aspen and birch and the many other shrubs we kill don’t play a critical role in maintaining healthy soils?
- How do we know that the fire-proof aspen and birch won’t play a role in suppressing wildfires as warmer conditions prevail?
- Why are we applying a chemical to public forests that is a known toxin to frogs, insects and invertebrates, and which kills food for many animals and has a known impact on wildlife populations?