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Breaking down North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve decision

The Municipality of North Cowichan is looking for your opinion as their review of the Municipal Forest Reserve continues.

They have set up a survey where you can give your thoughts. But as a backgrounder, they held an information session on December 12 to provide more context on the issue. They have uploaded footage of that session and the slide deck that they used in a video.

The 17-minute informational video breaks down the four options that North Cowichan is considering for harvest of trees within the reserve.

The Municipality scored the four options based on how they meet certain ecological, economic, and social criteria. You can see how they all stack up at 13:28 in the video.

Each option is also given an estimated revenue that it will generate, either based on the sale of harvested trees or the estimated carbon credits that they would receive.

Let’s take a look at each of the options

  1. Status Quo – Continuation of harvesting based on past 25 years of data records.It places the revenue generated from the MFR mostly in the harvesting of timber, with some from recreation.
  2. Reduced Harvesting – Reduction to around 40% of historical harvesting.Some revenue generated from each the harvesting of timber, recreation, and adding the sale of carbon credits.(Carbon credits are a system by which the Province gives a certain amount of credits to organizations based on their carbon emissions. A set amount of credits are in circulation at any given time in an effort to curb overall pollution. The credits can then be bought and sold to other companies on an open market to businesses based on the amount of pollution their business requires. It’s a similar process to the stock market.)
  3. Active Conservation – Targeted harvesting with the only goal of restoring and enhancing the environment and its ecosystems.
    Harvesting of timber is cut entirely and the only trees removed are those with the goal of improving the ecosystem. Revenue gained from through this option come only from sale of carbon credits and recreation.
  4. Passive Conservation – Letting the reserve develop with minimal human intervention.Very similar to “Active Conservation” except there is minimal human intervention in the overall ecosystem. This option is lauded as the most visually appealing from a scenery perspective.

For exact revenue numbers and a more in-depth look at each option, you can have a look at the video. The municipality says the sale of carbon credits will take some time to develop, while the sale of timber is more immediate. Hence the revenue projections are over a period of the next 30 years.

You can answer the survey to give your thoughts on the Connect North Cowichan platform.

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