Canada's Passive Approach to Forests Fueling Wildfires, Industry Says

Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada

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Canada's forests are burning at an alarming rate, and the forestry sector is pointing the finger at the country's passive approach to management.

According to Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, last year's fires were the worst in history, burning 25 times more land than is sustainably harvested annually. Nighbor argues that leaving forests alone is a recipe for disaster, and that a more proactive approach is needed.

This proactive approach would involve actively managing forests by removing flammable materials in high-risk areas, using controlled burns, and harvesting timber to reduce overcrowding. Nighbor says this would not only reduce the risk of wildfires, but also improve forest health and mitigate the effects of climate change.

The forestry sector is well-positioned to implement these practices, according to the article. Nighbor argues that forestry workers have the experience and skills necessary to safely and effectively manage forests. He also points to Sweden and Finland as examples of countries that have successfully used active forest management to reduce wildfires.

The article calls on the federal government to take a leadership role in developing a forest management plan that includes collaboration with Indigenous communities, provincial governments, and local stakeholders. It also urges Ottawa to remove regulatory barriers that make it difficult to fight fires and manage forests.

Nighbor concludes by arguing that Canada must move away from its passive approach to forest management. He says that the ongoing devastation from wildfires is costing the country dearly, and that a more proactive approach is needed to protect our forests and communities.