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The Urgency of Protecting Our Forests: A Call to Action from Chief Forester Louis Pelletier

As journalists, we like to work with facts. Just like scientists.

The coldness of science sometimes sends shivers down your spine.

This is a bit what I felt when listening to the Chief Forester, Louis Pelletier, talk about the effects of climate change on our forests and the interventions to be made to ensure their sustainability, during a conference dinner organized by the Saguenay-Lac-SaintJean Forestry Association.

The observation is implacable. If we don’t do anything, the forest will go to hell.

And here, it’s not just a question of fewer trees for forestry companies to cut down. It’s an entire ecosystem that could change, or even disappear.

Our beautiful walks in the forest, moose and partridge hunting, going to our camp to catch trout at Lac Brochet… The role of the forest in carbon sequestration and the reduction of greenhouse gases tight. Phew!

“We are faced with several unknowns, despite the knowledge at our disposal. It will be difficult to establish with certainty the climate of tomorrow and to adjust our planning practices based on it now. But one fact remains, the status quo of our practices is not the solution to the challenges posed by climate change and its effects on our forest,” warned the Chief Forester in front of an audience of 200 people made up of elected officials, foresters and business people.

Human intervention

Human intervention therefore becomes obligatory, otherwise our forests will become very vulnerable. Solutions are proposed to try to make our forests more resilient to fires or any other threats such as diseases and insects like the spruce budworm. And that involves intensive silviculture and enrichment of hardwoods.

The chief forester did his homework with his team to have a picture of the future. Based on a moderate scenario of an increase in average annual temperature of 1.6 to 4.2 degrees Celsius for the period 2071-2100, if no intervention was carried out, forest capacity would increase from 6 million hectares to 4 M in the region. By carrying out intensive reforestation and enrichment with hardwoods, we would considerably reduce the repercussions. The allowable cut would be reduced by around 500,000 ha rather than 2 M ha.

Something to think about. Furthermore, if no intervention is made, the forest will transform. The proportion of mature forests would melt like snow in the sun to leave more room for areas where natural regeneration could not take place. So, more moorland and forest with a few trees and snags.

A less rich and dense forest will therefore have repercussions on habitats, including that of the woodland caribou, which we so desire to protect.

And this summer’s forest fires which destroyed more than 1 million hectares of forest demonstrated the fragility of this ecosystem as populations had to flee their localities due to the dangers of its spread.

The Chief Forester’s science shows that we must protect our forest before it is too late. It is the protection of our territory, of our country.

Will the government listen to science?

We have to do it… For the rest of the world.

2024-02-21 20:40:41
#rest #world

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