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David Broadland

David Broadland
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Posts posted by David Broadland

  1. On 2020-07-03 at 4:54 PM, Chris Junck said:

    Yes, this is the threatened variety. In BC, recent sightings are only from a few locations in the CRD.

    Chris, do you know how the BC Conservation Data Centre determines that a plant or animal species is yellow-, blue- or red-listed in BC?

  2. Speaking of threatened species of plants, Maleea Acker has just posted a story about ongoing volunteer efforts in Uplands Park to protect and restore the Garry Oak meadow there. Margaret Lidkea is welcoming volunteers. Read Maleea's story here.

  3. Thanks for your posts Chris. I can't remember ever seeing Poverty clover. Looking at eflora BC I notice that Trifolium depauperatum var. depauperatum is blue-listed in BC (threatened). Is that what you have photographed?

  4. On 2020-05-23 at 11:04 PM, Rick Weatherill said:

    When trees are referred to as "fiber", it is indicative of a major, if not insurmountable, problem in the industry.

    Yes, the language that is used—the exact choice of words—speaks volumes about a lack of understanding on the part of those making political decisions about forests. There's little acknowledgement of the necessary role forests play in supporting life on Earth.

    But playing an active role in the forest-industrial complex goes deeper than the use of words to condition the public's thinking about what forests are good for. There is a conscious choice being made by people at the Ministry of Forests to deceive the public about basic facts, such as how much original productive old growth forest remains. The ministry's role is to manufacture public consent for the rapid liquidation of this part of the biosphere. That liquidation of old growth—which is the most economically valuable type of forest—allows members of the forest industrial complex to receive the maximum benefit for their investment in careers and companies.

    In the last couple of days a damning report by three former BC government forest ecologists was released. The report demonstrates the degree to which BC's Ministry of Forests provides disinformation to the public in its role as the public relations arm of the forest-industrial complex. For years the ministry has claimed 13 million hectares of old-growth forest remain in the province. The three scientists, using the ministry's own data, show that only 415,000 hectares remain. I've written about the report here and have attached it below.


  5. Welcome to Focus Forums Clint! And thanks for that link Chris. It's interesting reading. I notice that one of the factors in the decline of Great Blue Herons is a decline in the availability of trees tall enough for them to use for nesting and that are also within 10 kilometres of foraging habitat.

    Many Victorians are aware that Beacon Hill Park has an active heronry that is, from time to time, disturbed by Bald Eagles. Knowing how skittish herons can be about humans in areas far less populated than Victoria, I am always surprised that the herons tolerate human presence and vehicle noise so close to their nests in Beacon Hill Park. I took this photo in early March.



  6. Of the animals observed so far, two happen to be on BC's Blue List: The Double-crested Cormorant, as mentioned above, and the subspecies of Great Blue Heron that occurs in this area. With our Mapping Nature project, we are especially interested in recording species that the Province has indicated are "endangered" (Red List) or "threatened" (Blue List). We'll put together a list of those species that are found in the Victoria area that fall into one of these categories, and make it available here.

  7. 21 hours ago, Robert Lindal said:

    I don't know what kind it is, but it looks like a cormorant.



    I believe the only cormorant in BC with an all orange beak is the Double-crested Cormorant. Wikipedia has an image (below) of a juvenile Double-crested Cormorant, courtesy Gordon Robertson. The Province of BC has put Phalacrocorax auritus on its Blue List, which means it is "threatened." Photographs of this species in the Victoria area would help to establish its wintering habitat here.



    This photo by Gordon Robertson



    THE PLANT KINGDOM consists of trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, and grasses. You don't have to know what species you have photographed, although we hope you will try to identify it before you send your photograph to us. Remember, please include a brief description of where you found the plant. (If the plant is red- or blue-listed in BC, we will not divulge the exact location.) You can attach your photograph in the forum below or email it to focuspublish@shaw.ca.

  9. 32528537_OrcainVictoriaHarbour.thumb.jpg.3d1f6ba0bfd21e6578ee1f6422f6398c.jpg

    Transient orca in Victoria Harbour, photographed by Mark Malleson


    THE ANIMAL KINGDOM consists of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates. You don’t have to know what species you have photographed, although we hope you will try to identify it before you send your photograph to us. Remember, please include a brief description of where the animal was when you photographed it. You can attach it in the forum below or email it to focuspublish@shaw.ca.

    As we receive your observations they will be mapped (by municipality). You will find the current maps here

  10. In the other forests forum James Steidle has posted a comment about the effect on the flammability of forest stands of taking out deciduous species in order to enhance growth of conifers. This is another example of how current forestry practices are contributing to larger, more aggressive fires.

    Steidel wrote a piece in the Province about this in 2019. He noted, “Now the problem, to anyone who studies fire dynamics of these two different forest types, should be immediately apparent. The Conifer-dominated forest type we are actively encouraging, is highly flammable, while the Broadleaf Aspen forest type we are actively eliminating, is incredibly fire resistant. With a few caveats, the conclusion is undeniable. According to a 2001 study by Steve Cummings et al, pine forests are 8.4 times more likely to burn compared to deciduous Aspen forests based on historical data.” 

  11. Welcome James and Ingmar. Thank you for your posts.

    James, you raise an excellent example of a forest practice that is doubtless changing fire behaviour for the worse. I would direct other readers to the piece you wrote in the Province in January 2019. Have you received any direct response from the Province or industry about the removal of deciduous trees increasing overall flammability of forest stands? If you have, what were you told?

  12. Compelling evidence logging native forests has worsened Australian bushfires, scientists warn

    The Guardian reports today that Australian scientists David Lindenmayer, Robert Kooyman, Chris Taylor, Michelle Ward and James Watson, in a comment piece in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, have called for “a clearer discussion about how land management and forestry practices contribute to fire risk.”

    The Guardian reports: 

    "In the comment piece, the scientists say much of the conversation in the aftermath of the spring and summer bushfires had rightly focused on climate change, but the impact of land management and forestry on fire risk was often neglected in these discussions.

    They highlight this as a concern because land management policy was 'well within the control of Australians' and the fires had been used by some sectors of the industry to call for increased logging in some areas.

    The paper says industry data showed that some 161m cubic metres of native forest was logged in the period from 1996 to 2018.

    'Beyond the direct and immediate impacts on biodiversity of disturbance and proximity to disturbed forest, there is compelling evidence that Australia’s historical and contemporary logging regimes have made many Australian forests more fire prone and contributed to increased fire severity and flammability,' the scientists write.

    This occurs because logging leaves debris at ground level that increases the fuel load in logged forests. It also changes forest composition and leaves these areas of forest both hotter and drier, they say."

    By comparison, in BC, nearly 60 million cubic metres of logs are taken out of forests every year. What took Australian loggers 22 years to cut down, BC's forest industry is doing in less than three years. If 161 million cubic metres over 22 years creates increased fire risk, what does 180 million cubic metres every 3 years create?

  13. AFTER RESEARCHING AND WRITING The forest-industrial complex's Molotov clearcuts (FOCUS Magazine March-April 2020) I realized the question posed above needs to be more thoroughly explored in public. I was surprised that I could not find a single reference to scientific research that has been conducted by BC forest scientists on this question. Why not? It's possible such research has been done, but if it has, it's very well hidden.

    Through this forum FOCUS hopes to stimulate the provincial government to search for truth about this question. The exponential increase in emissions from wildfires may be the final straw that breaks the back of clearcut logging in BC. Or maybe there's no significant connection at all. What do you know that can help us get to the truth about this issue? If you are a forest scientist with knowledge about the fire-disturbance dynamic, please join in. Or, contact me privately at focuspublish@shaw.ca.

  14. Let me address your main point, then. The idea of the “Military-Industrial Complex” came, as you may know, from a speech made by outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower in 1961. There was nothing in that speech that suggests he was worried about “obfuscating propaganda.” While it has been well-argued elsewhere that members of BCs forest-industrial complex sometimes hide the truth about forests by their choice of words, I did not make that argument. Rather, I highlighted the role of universities, media and government. One of the relationships Eisenhower flagged in his Military-Industrial Complex speech was that between government and universities. His stated concern was that government funding was determining the research done at universities:

    “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. 

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”

    In BC in 2020, almost all universities in BC are government-funded, and we no doubt agree that is a good thing. But, as Eisenhower realized, that funding relationship comes with strings attached. I am concerned that in BC, UBC forestry scientists are not looking to see if there’s a relationship between the extent of clearcuts and more aggressive wildfire behaviour in BC’s Interior because the Ministry of Forests and the Department of National Resources don’t want to know if there’s a relationship or not. They are committed to clearcut logging and the economic values a forest can provide if cut down.

    My evidence that government doesn’t really want to know is circumstantial: no such research has been done by BC scientists on the relationship between lightning ignition and clearcuts. Instead, the research done by the government-funded university has concluded big fires result from years of fire suppression. The solution, as Professor Daniels related to the Vancouver Sun, is to more intensively industrialize our forests by creating a bioenergy industry.

    Like you, I would defer to more knowledgeable sources. Historians tell us that Eisenhower nailed it when he invoked the spectre of a Military-Industrial Complex,” and warned citizens to get control of it.

    Given that the safety and stability of our environment are at least as pressing issues as the value of raw log and wood product exports from BC, I believe its necessary to wrap our minds around why, in spite of all the scientific resources that exist that could tell us why our forests are going up in smoke, what were being told doesnt appear to agree with what we can see with our own eyes: vast areas of burned clearcuts.



  15. Thanks for your comments Conrad. I would encourage you to look at the satellite photography that is available to you to test your contention that the big fires of 2017 and 2018 occurred in “dense” forest stands. As was made clear in the story, the areas affected by the largest fires included a high percentage of recently disturbed areas—large clearcuts—not “dense” forest. That includes the Elephant Hill Fire. There’s nothing like unambiguous satellite photos of a vast, ruined land to overthrow long-held superstitions. If you haven’t examined the extensive satellite photography, why not?

    You need to read Krawchuk’s and Cumming’s published research between 2006 and 2009 to understand what they were looking for and what they found. You are misunderstanding what they said in the short abstract of “Disturbance history affects lightning fire initiation in the mixedwood boreal forest: Observations and simulations.” Krawchuk and Cumming are very clear that lightning ignition increases with area harvested, and they explain why. Read the full study, and their earlier studies, too.

    Your conclusion that since their studies were in a wetter forest type they couldn’t apply to drier forests doesn’t make sense to me. Krawchuk and Cumming are saying that the abundance of fine fuels left in a harvested area (and they make clear this includes young regrowth) makes those areas more susceptible to ignition by lightning than standing forest. Surely you will agree that if that is true, the drier the conditions in a harvested area, the more pronounced the effect they found would be. I note that no BC forest scientists have published research on this question. Why not?

    I don’t know what your background is, but your explanation of why climate change is not necessarily responsible for the MP beetle infestation is at odds with what credible scientists have been saying since the infestation started. But in any case, you have missed my point. The largest fires burned through vast areas of clearcuts with only minor amounts of “dense” forest involved (see satellite imagery). Those clearcuts resulted from a combination of logging live trees and salvaging beetle-killed trees. My point is that the combination of beetle infestation and over-exploitation of BC’s forests has eliminated the provincial forests’ ability to sequester carbon. That has a definite impact on atmospheric carbon, and hence climate change. That is what the forest scientists have determined, not me.

    You ask what would I have changed? While the MPB kill was being salvaged, the logging of live trees could have been eliminated or at least reduced. Neither occurred. At the same time, the Province allowed a huge backlog in the area to be replanted to occur. That backlog still exists.   

    I didn’t use the word “lackey” in the story and there’s no intention of casting Daniels in that light. Daniels was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun, which I quoted. If she comes across to you as a “lackey,” perhaps you should raise that with the Vancouver Sun.

  16. Thanks for getting in touch, Dr Daniels.

    It’s not our practice to confirm that a source said what they were quoted as saying to another reporter. It is our practice to attribute the source of the quote.

    If you are saying that Randy Shore misquoted you or materially misrepresented what you said, please let me know and I will adjust that reference in our online story.

    Or, if you are saying that I have misrepresented what you said to Shore, please detail that misrepresentation.

    If you disagree with my contention that the very large extent of clearcuts and young plantation regrowth in the Interior has altered fire behaviour, I would encourage you to address that disagreement specifically. There is much scientific study and science-based writing that has connected clearcut harvesting to fire.

    This story is not about your research. You are in the story because you appear to have told Shore that large aggressive fires are the result of fire suppression. Your position that large fires are the result of fire suppression was echoed in our story by Pat Byrne’s comments to a 100-Mile Free Press reporter. That position has been well-represented by government, industry and academia in the media.

    But large areas of overly-dense forest being burned in big fires is not what one sees if one does a thorough examination of the before-and-after satellite imagery that’s available. If you feel the evidence that I have presented, that the largest fires are burning through vast expanses of clearcuts and plantation regrowth, is a distortion of what’s actually happening on the ground, then I encourage you to provide our readers with evidence that the satellite imagery is somehow not reflective of what’s happening on the ground.

  17. IN JANUARY 2020, Focus Magazine published my article “The forest-industrial complex’s Molotov clearcuts.” The story considered the evidence that the significant increase in the size of wildfires in BC—and the exponential increase in carbon emissions from them—might be partly a result of the growing area in BCs interior that is either a recent clearcut or an area of young regrowth. I noted that the narrative created by scientists and forestry managers blamed this phenomenon on decades of fire suppression.” In my story, I attributed that narrative to the “forest-industrial complex” which I described as “the forest-interested government agencies, industry, universities and media—that has led BC into the black-box carbon trap of exponentially-increasing emissions...”

    The written response to the story included some letters to the editor from writers who assumed the term “forest-industrial complex” was a smear of anyone involved in forestry in BC. Not at all. It was a recognition of a simple fact about forestry in BC: it’s an industry which sees the forest primarily, if not exclusively, as a source of economic benefit, and its current practices are based on the collective efforts of everyone involved in turning forests into wood products and energy, from the BC minister responsible for forests, the scientists who provide the research that informs policies made by government, through to the foresters and logging community that figure out how to cut down forests. Media that are unwilling to examine critically these relationships—which is part of their job description—automatically include themselves in the complex. The term “forest-industrial complex” comes from my understanding of the term “military-industrial complex,” which was coined by outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1961 in a speech he made a week before leaving office. The ideas in that speech have become Eisenhower’s most remembered contribution to American political conversation, and they are worth revisiting.

    In that speech, Eisenhower observed that, in order to keep peace in the world, America had been “compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.” He warned: “In the councils of government, we must guard against acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” 

    Eisenhower continued, “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    Eisenhower didn’t imply this growing relationship was nefarious in nature; he was saying it was inevitable, could be disastrous and that “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry” was needed to watch over the relationship. Eisenhower specifically included universities receiving funding from governments to do industry-related research as being a part of the military-industrial complex.

    Sixty years later, that “meshing” of industry and government (the military is a government agency, after all) has spread—some might say metastasized—to all areas of government, including here in BC. The relationship between governments and pharmaceutical companies, oil and gas companies, hard-rock mining companies and forest industry companies have all become dangerously codependent, often putting non-economic values at risk. In this province, forest industry companies have invested heavily in their relationships with government, including donating to political parties and lobbying those parties once they are in government. In turn, rules that govern the forest companies tenure and operations on public lands have, over the years, shifted away from a higher level of public interest to a lower level, and closer and closer to defacto privatization of Crown forests. 

    As with the military industrial complex in the US, BCs forest-industrial complex is supported by a largely uncritical media and educational institutions that do forestry research and train people to operate the forest industry. Just one example: UBCs Faculty of Forestry has produced many of the top managers of BC forest companies. Forest companies hire graduates of UBCs Faculty of Forestry, not its Department of Philosophy.

    We at FOCUS think the relationships between government, universities, the media and the forest industry in BC needs to be more fully explored and understood. To that end, we open this first forum in the Forests section of our forums: Does a Forest-Industrial Complex exist in BC? If so, how can “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry,” to paraphrase Eisenhower, compel the “proper meshing” of the huge industrial and government machinery of forestry so that it doesn’t destabilize the physical environment. We welcome your comments, and start with two forest stewards that don’t think there’s a problem... 

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