Almost half the forest within the Wilson Creek watershed is under 35 years old and eighty-three per cent under 100 years old. The equivalent to clearcut area is at 47 per cent, meaning almost half the forest does not contribute to the hydrological stability of the watershed.
The term second growth is likely assumed to mean regrowth following logging. Within EW002 it refers to trees that have naturally regenerated after a fire approximately 130 years ago and have remained largely undisturbed by industrial activity since. And yes, logging has occurred in a confined portion of the block, which is within a heavily logged area.
As for biodiversity, nature mounts a vigorous response to disturbances. This invasion of disturbance specialists has a purpose, which is to rebuild biodiversity and ecosystem functions. At the elevation of block EW002, this process will take about 130 years to reach the level of biodiversity that currently exists. Saying that the disturbance creates more biodiversity than previously existed would be incorrect. Science tells us that the peak of biological activity occurs as equilibrium is reached between growth and decay. In fact, during the thicket stage, it will become a largely impenetrable, biological desert.
During the standís mature years, it may not hold the variety of bird species so valued by Mr. Greenfield (Coast Reporter letters, Nov. 16), but at present we have ample clearcuts for the sooty grouse to thrive in. What we donít have are good representations of mature, naturally occurring, non-industrialized forest and the complex biodiversity that they represent.
We can make plenty of clearcuts, but we canít remake this type of forest for about six generations. It wonít be worth less tomorrow, so letís make sure it is what the community wants today.
Jason Herz, chair, Sunshine Coast Conservation Association