Saturday April 19, 2014

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Discussing biodiversity issues



There were two letters in Coast Reporter Nov. 30 concerning biodiversity in relation to the community forest’s block EW002. Both of these letters contain significant disinformation.

One letter compares a logging opening to a “wheat farmer replacing native grassland.” I cannot think of a more inappropriate analogy! The wheat farmer is displacing the native ecosystem by planting a non-native exotic monoculture that is fertilized, weeded, herbicided, pesticided and harvested annually. Forest plantations are generally none of these things.

In another letter, Rick O’Neill provides a tiny list of species that frequent EW002. No argument there except to say that many of them also rely on adjacent forest openings to flourish. What is there for a bear to eat in the closed canopy forest of EW002? It is also stated that a clearcut will “just begin to support some life” after 50 to 60 years.

O’Neill then offers a challenge to the community forest to provide a list of the hundreds of species that will thrive in the regenerating clearcut. As a director of the community forest I hereby accept that challenge. Stay tuned!

Of the many global issues facing the world in the 21st century, loss of biodiversity rates near the top, and every human action has an implication, not least global warming. However, biodiversity has never been a static concept frozen in time, but a constantly changing panorama.

Another concept that should be mentioned is that at some point value judgements may be required. While all biodiversity is important, there may come a time when decisions have to be made about the relative importance of your nematode versus my mountain bluebird. We live in interesting times.

Tony Greenfield, Halfmoon Bay 



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