Government Control over Biodiversity Loss: The Secret is Theirs

by fhalbert on October 3, 2016 - 5:08pm

If someone were to ask you what ideas first come to mind when the phrase biodiversity loss is mentioned, many people immediately think: habitat loss, invasive species, competition, poor resource management or hunting. All five topics are prime causes of biodiversity loss of wildlife across Canada and are mentioned in one short but really important news article.

   In November 2015 The Globe and Mail released a very eye opening article that touches on all five topics listed above coming to life in one situation in British Columbia. “B.C.’s wildlife policy skirts issues of habitat loss due to logging,” is an article written by Mark Hume that discusses the “forest enhancement program,” that’s being implemented in B.C’s few remaining old growth forests. The program focuses on harvesting timber from areas that have not yet been disturbed in order to increase supply of exportable timber and keep loggers working. The forests are on government land along the west coast line of B.C. therefore the government (actor one) are the ones who will reap the benefits of the program where as the locals (actor two) and the wildlife conservation specialists (actor three) will suffer the consequences. Environmentalist and wildlife managers in the immediate area suggest that harvesting these old growth forests will have a huge impact on wildlife diversity in ALL of British Columbia and will likely lead to the loss of very old tree species as well. The overall take home message that the author portrays about the situation is that the government is facing some really tough decisions in order to address biodiversity loss in British Columbia. So far, most of their enhancement programs are not making anyone happy because they’re focusing more on economic gain and less on effective resource management.

   My reaction to this new article is not shocked but not apathetic. This story touches on almost every problem we are currently learning about when discussing resource management in GEOG*3210. Firstly, there’s a resource being mismanaged for economic gain (the old growth forests housing many different types of trees and animals are economically beneficial and are being threatened), secondly there is conflict due to different groups of actors wanting different things (locals and conservationists say leave the forest alone versus government/the state says harvest the forest) and thirdly there is media coverage that completely sways the reader’s vote towards the idea that the government is abusing the environment even though they know that their actions will threaten the stability of wildlife biodiversity (undervaluing natural resource).

   So, what’s my opinion on the matter? The government is not going to change their mind of harvesting these old growth forests, but they may change their approach if people fight hard enough. The problem is at the end of the day if there is money to be made the government is going to use and abuse the environment until they run out of environment. This case is extremely similar to the Ring of Fire case in Northern Ontario in the sense that the government knows that there will likely be lots of environmental disruption and lots of uncertainty of who/what will be impacted the most, but there will also be lots of economic benefits and opportunities to strengthen trading ties between other countries. This same song and dance seems to be played constantly across Canada as if biodiversity stability is something that humans can afford to barter with. Unless these old growth forests are causing harm or problems for the government, environment or surrounding communities, they shouldn’t be disturbed. If the government continues to mismanage crown land (areas owned by the Government of Canada) then they likely will start seeing more and more irreversible damages to many different ecosystems resulting in further loss of plant and animal biodiversity.

Below is a link to the article being discussed

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bcs-wildlife-policy-skirts-issue-of-habitat-loss-due-to-logging/article27435434/

Further is a link that discusses the Ring of Fire case in Onatio (Just for general knowledge)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-a...

 

 

SOURCES

 

Curry, B. (2016, April). Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire needs a road, not rail, Noront CEO asserts. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-a...

 

Hume, M. (2015, November). B.C.’s wildlife policy skirts issues of habitat loss due to logging. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bcs-wildlife-policy...