Conserve woodlots and wetlands; encourage sustainable agriculture

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According to Conservation International, “When forests are cleared, they emit carbon dioxide. 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans can be blamed on deforestation — equivalent to the emissions from all the cars and trucks on Earth.”   

According to Conservation International, “When forests are cleared, they emit carbon dioxide. 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans can be blamed on deforestation — equivalent to the emissions from all the cars and trucks on Earth.”   
Many of us are doing everything to curb our personal pollution. But is there much point to it when the ‘big ag’ mentality of some neighbours continues unabated, with the destruction of hundreds of acres of woods and wetlands (the best carbon sinks) for more unsustainable agriculture?
After the trees are cut, how many gallons of Roundup will be applied to the newly denuded soil to prevent regrowth? What are the consequences of that toxic chemical soup to the water? Applying Roundup to fields doesn’t classify as sustainable agriculture, nor does removing hedgerows and vegetative borders to allow cropping to the edge of watercourses.
The nail in the coffin is the tiling of wetlands, which quickly diverts contaminated run-off and eroded topsoil into our rivers and ultimately, the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. We are now experiencing the results: alarming decline in whale populations and deadly algae blooms.
Governments are spending millions to replant woodlots and hedgerows in and around agricultural fields, yet here, we’re taking them out! Where’s the sanity? I’m curious to know what percentage of Bristol is still treed, and how much more deforestation the municipality will allow before the land and water is polluted beyond simple restoration. Isn’t it past time to arm our government =bodies with the tools they need to address this loophole ‘big ag’ seems to love? We must move forward, not back, if the MRC Pontiac and the municipalities are serious about transitioning farms to organic and becoming leaders in sustainability and ecological agriculture in Québec.
As of 2011, Bristol boasted 17,128 hectares zoned agricultural, or 72.9% of the area. Surely some must be available for sale or rent, eliminating any need to clear woodlots for new fields?
If we allow this behaviour to continue unchecked, undoubtedly, we, the tax payers, will be stuck with unimaginable costs for land and water reparation down the road.
By accepting the continuous clearcutting of valuable woodlots and wetlands, this is the legacy that will be left for us to deal with, while the landowners can smile and walk away into the sunset.

Kelly Coles
BRISTOL