Clear-cutting is allowed

0
62

In the article titled “Questions, concerns, and some answers: Is forest clear-cutting legal? When? Where? Conditions?” on page 2 and 15 of the April 20 edition, there is a statement that is somewhat misleading.

In the article titled “Questions, concerns, and some answers: Is forest clear-cutting legal? When? Where? Conditions?” on page 2 and 15 of the April 20 edition, there is a statement that is somewhat misleading. Ms Beauregard made a fine effort to get information from the local community, with interviews of Martin Boucher, Régent Dugas, Colleen Larivière, Isabelle Lajoie, and Terry Murdock. However, the article says, “Although the by-law clearly bans clear-cutting…”. The problem is that it does not ban clear-cutting; it allows it almost everywhere, of every tree, including sugar maple. Perhaps you assumed it could not apply to all tree species, since M. Boucher said it should not, but alas, it applies to all.
If you look again at Interim Control By-law 214-2015, on all the woodlot space between zones that are extremely steep, or along roads or lakes, a cut of all tree species greater than 14 cm is allowed. A stump of 14 cm has an average diameter of about 10 cm at chest height, which is the diameter of a tree sapling. Therefore the by-law allows cutting every tree larger than a sapling, of whatever species, on an unlimited area, except in those excluded zones, which on an average lot are less than 10% of the area.
As well, in those excluded zones, no accurate means is given for measuring the permitted “40% cut”, because the MRC mayors committee banned “basal area measurement” from the by-law.
An “Interim Control” by-law is not subject to a municipal referendum. As well, the municipalities will not be allowed to add any provisions to require partial
cuts instead of clear-cuts in “hardwood” stands. By-law #214-2015 requires
property-owners to take out a permit, but it allows them to carry out the same type of
damaging over-cutting and clear-cutting that has been occurring up to the present moment (sometimes owners haven’t known that it has been illegal under MRC Complementary Document Sec. 8, and municipal by-laws).
Is this really what we want? Even though most forest property owners still will
not arrange to have their hardwood woodlots clear-cut, some abusive
clear-cutting will surely continue with this by-law.  Such harvests degrade the
economic value of forests in the entire MRC, along with silting up small streams, harming wildlife habitat, etc.
The solution is to insist that the MRC amend this law so it will provide for proper partial-cut harvest methods in healthy “hardwood” stands. Along with this, the MRC should hold workshops each fall for municipal inspectors and woodlot owners on the best woodlot management methods. This is what we need to improve long-term woodlot value.           
Paula Armstrong, Biologist
THORNE