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Group concerned AG's forest report will lead to more spraying

The spokesperson of a citizens' group called Stop the Spray BC says more intensive silviculture is the wrong approach for B.C. forests.

James Steidle issued a press release in response to the Auditor General's scathing report that found the B.C. government has failed to sufficiently replant the forests it manages and needs to develop a plan.

Auditor General John Doyle's six recommendations include developing a plan for forest stewardship and investing enough in silviculture to achieve long-term timber goals.

Silviculture companies typically spray herbicides on a site before re-planting to eliminate competition from other species.

"My fear is this growing chorus of "mismanagement" is going to cause the government to start spraying a lot more herbicides to control the deciduous trees like aspen and birch, whose presence is considered a management problem," stated Steidle in the press release. "And that would be bad for biodiversity, healthy forests, and long-term sustainability."

Stop the Spray has raised concerns about the industry's widespread use of glyphosate, in particular. The chemical is a key ingredient in Vision, Roundsup and other herbicides, and is under safety review by Health Canada.

"The underlying message of the Auditor General's report is that we need to plant more conifers. . . and engage in greater silviculture activities in the not sufficiently restocked (NSR) areas where deciduous growth is strong," wrote Steidle. "Nobody seems to think that a "mismanaged" NSR forest could potentially be a healthy one and that the real problem is too much logging."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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