Clearcuts remove habitat for animals, are cooler or hotter depending on the season. The Canadian Forest Service recommends thinning forests over clearcuts. Thin forests retain some of the visual appeal and natural benefits of the forest. Removing older, larger trees makes the forest less attractive to beetles and provides better growing conditions for young trees.
The effects of deforestation by logging are immediate and significant. Thinned forests or those left to the natural process of degeneration/regeneration after a beetle infestation will suffer gradual and less severe impacts.
Clear-cut forests are not ecologically equivalent to fire damage or bug infested forests.
- removes nutrients (in trees)
- damages topsoil
- causes more nutrients to leach out of ecosystem
- produces a different community of plants and animals
- produces a landscape different from natural disturbances (patch sizes & shapes).
Clearcutting forests creates an imbalance in rivers and watersheds. Less water is retained, flooding is more likely, spring snowmelt will occur earlier, rates of flow in summer and fall will change. Surface soil erodes, fish habitat is lost, landslides are more likely, water quality is poor and disturbed land is less productive.
Spray Lakes is currently cutting hundreds of thousands of trees annually in southern Kananaskis and in the Ghost/Waiparous, near Sundre, under the Forest Management Agreement
Spray Lakes Sawmills plans on logging 1600 hectares of Kananaskis annually.
Next: Public Consultation