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  • Planned logging on the Discovery Islands

  • 2024-03-03 TimberWest's proposed cutblocks and roads northeast of Long Lake

    David Broadland



    Comments on cutblocks 11619, 11620, 11621, 11622 and new roads

    [1] Proposed cutblock 11621-12-145 appears to overlap with a 1.3-hectare area of old forest that we have mapped as Area Q 163 (Long Lake Grove). You will find that area on the map on this page. You can view photographs of some of the trees in this area on this page. TimberWest’s usual practice on Quadra Island is to leave patches of trees older than 250 years of age but log all younger trees around and between them, thus destroying rare ground-level old-forest habitats and associated biodiversity. The Vancouver Island Summary Land Use Plan provided guidance on how such old forest was to be handled in Special Management Zone 19:

    Strategies: to the extent that old seral forest retention will be required within the contributing land base portions of the landscape unit, such retention should be concentrated within the SMZ-portion of the landscape unit; maintain existing old forest in the zone, as well as second growth with high portion of veteran trees; manage to replace old forest in the long term (>150 years) in accordance with old seral targets for intermediate BEO; focus old seral replacement in CWHxm2, concentrated along riparian areas and, where possible, adjacent to existing old seral forest;”

    Given that guidance, TimberWest should plan to leave an area of recruitment forest around the existing patch of old forest at this location.

    We also note that this matter is part of the subject of an active complaint to the Forest Practices Board.



    Single Delight (One-flowered wintergreen, Moneses uniflora) found at the Long Lake Grove. On Quadra Island this plant only found in old forest.


    [2] Proposed cutblocks 11619 and 11622 are located close to the edge of Beech’s Creek Ravine, which contains a concentration of Douglas fir and red cedar veterans. Based on the guidance contained in the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan for Special Management Zone 19, the Discovery Islands Forest Conservation Project recommends leaving a buffer of recruitment forest above the ravine on its west and east side sto help to restore an old-growth ecosystem in this ravine. This would support listed species such as the northern red-legged frog, wandering salamander, northern goshawk and peregrine falcon—all recorded by the project—that occur in the area.



    A Western Red Cedar growing in the Beechs Creek ravine


    [3] The crude representation of the boundaries of these cutblocks in the FOM doesnt allow for an accurate depiction of what TimberWest is planning for the area within the cutblocks. For example, we can’t tell whether the proposed cutblocks will meet Objective A. 1. (b) of the VILUP Higher Level Plan Order (HLPO), which states: “Sustain forest ecosystem structure and function in SMZs, by… retaining within cutblocks, structural forest attributes and elements with important biodiversity functions…” Our interpretation of this objective is that “structural forest attributes and elements” includes leaving some standing mature trees within the cutblock. A full discussion of what is necessary to sustain forest ecosystem structure and function can be found here. Please provide us with assurance that TimberWest will abide fully with this legal order. We also note that this matter is part of the subject of an active complaint to the Forest Practices Board.

    [4] The proposed 1.64 kilometres of new roads, at 4 metres wide including ditching and clearance, will result in 6600 square metres of permanent deforestation and a commensurate permanent diminishment of the provincial carbon sequestration capacity. How will TimberWest offset that loss?

    [5] TimberWest’s practice has been to apply for export as raw logs all of what it cuts on Quadra Island. This logging, therefore, will provide only 2-3 months of local employment for 4 or 5 people. We recommend that TimberWest build a small mill on Quadra Island to process logs that will provide additional local employment and make available affordable, locally grown lumber on the Discovery Islands. Has TimberWest explored such a possibility with We Wai Kai First Nation?

    [6] TimberWest’s normal practice is, after logging, to pile and burn the approximately 40-50 percent of forest biomass that cannot be commercially utilized. This archaic practice would add immense quantities of carbon to the atmosphere during a time in which the federal government has declared a “climate emergency”. What are TimberWest’s plans for eliminating the carbon emissions associated with the non-utilizable waste from these 4 cutblocks?

    [7] The proposed logging would leave slash piles close to roads. This would allow islanders to salvage firewood from those piles. Unfortunately, this practice increases the risk of human-caused forest fire. The cutblock itself will have a higher fire hazard (because of the slash-type fuel ) than the mature forest that will be logged. This condition, which is most dangerous during extreme fire weather, will persist for up to two decades. Since all of these proposed cutblocks are directly upwind from the built-up part of Quadra Island, this logging and the practice of firewood salvaging will place human habitation at great risk. We recommend that TimberWest confine its logging operations in TFL 47 to north of the Mount Seymour area to avoid a repetition of the 1925 fire which destroyed much of the south island’s forest and homes.



     TimberWest leaves giant slash piles that attract firewood gathering. Such activity causes forest fires in coastal BC.



    Even after slash pile burning, TimberWest leaves behind tonnes of logging slash in a clearcut and that raises forest fire hazard during extreme fire weather


    [8] Mosaic Forest Management announced on March 16, 2022, that it can make more money from letting trees grow and selling carbon credits than from logging its privately owned land. At that time, Chief Forester Domenico Iannidinardo told the Globe and Mail, “We expect to make at least as much from the BigCoast initiative as we would earn from harvesting these forests.” Given all of the problems TimberWest will create by logging these cutblocks, some of which we have mentioned above, why wouldn’t it also be better for the Province of BC to make at least as much by letting these trees grow and selling carbon credits rather than letting TimberWest log them?

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  • Maps of approved logging on publicly owned land on the Discovery Islands

    The maps below show the areas where cutting permits have been approved by the Ministry of Forests but have not yet been logged, and where logging has occurred over the past twenty or so years.

    There are three main categories of logging on public land in The Discovery Islands. Logging in TFL 47, logging in BC Timber Sales operating areas and logging in woodlots. So far the latter are exempt from any requirement to notify the public about their planned operations. They could voluntarily do so, but none are except for the Cortes Forestry General Partnership.

    TFL 47 is located on Quadra, Sonora, East Thurlow, West Thurlow and Hardwicke Islands. The first map below shows cutblocks in TFL 47 that have an active approved cutting permit—marked as “Active”. Other red-coloured polygons are areas that have already been logged. To see a list of “Active” but not yet logged cutblocks, go to this page.

    BC Timber Sales operates on West Redonda, Maurelle, Sonora and East and West Thurlow Islands. Its planned cutblocks are shown in the map immediately below the first map.


    TimberWest planned logging in TFL 47

    Use the + or - buttons to zoom in and out. You can pan around the map by clicking on it and and dragging. Click on any proposed cutblock (coloured polygon) to view the logging company, size and proposed cutting date.


    BC Timber Sales planned logging

    The interactive map below shows cutblocks planned by BC Timber Sales, which operates on Maurelle, West Redonda, East Thurlow and other islands and areas adjacent to the Discovery Islands. Use the + or - buttons to zoom in and out. You can pan around the map by clicking on it and and dragging. Click on any proposed cutblock (polygons outlined in green) to view the logging company, size and proposed cutting date.

  • The Discovery Islands Forestry-Tourism Working Group Map

    This map shows locations where logging companies may have logged, may be logging, may have cutting permits to log, may have applied for cutting permits to log, and may apply for cutting permits in the future. It does not appear to be in synch with the new Forest Operations Map which shows new applications for cutting permits. At this point its main value is as an indicator of the locations where logging companies might be thinking of logging over the next five years.


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