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Stop the Spray BC participating in Vancouver event at Heritage Hall

James Steidle

With worsening climate change and another fire season ahead of us, scientists, activists and First Nations leaders are meeting at Heritage Hall at 3102 Main Street in Vancouver Thursday night from 6:30-8:30 p.m. calling on Victoria to get pesticides out of our forests.

Suzanne Simard, author of Finding the Mother Tree, will be in attendance.

All across British Columbia, forest companies and government agencies spray herbicides, a type of pesticide, on regenerating forests to kill harvestable deciduous tree species like aspen, birch, maple, poplar and alder.

Deciduous, or broadleaf tree species, are known to have superior watershed function, to reduce global warming, to sequester more carbon, and to significantly reduce the probability of forest fire. Broadleaf deciduous forests are also critical wildlife habitat and the most productive habitat for declining moose.

The most common herbicide is glyphosate, which studies in northern B.C. show persist in forest vegetation for over a decade after spraying, according to Stop the Spray BC. Their ongoing persistence deforms and stunts vegetation and has long-term impacts on pollination and the ecosystem.

“The effects of herbicides like glyphosate on public forests is poorly understood but one thing is abundantly clear,” said Stop the Spray BC founder James Steidle. “We are systematically and relentlessly growing drier, more flammable, lower biodiversity, conifer plantations that are ill-equipped to deal with a rapidly changing climate.”

Recent archaeological work confirms that coastal Indigenous communities planted deciduous “food forests” visible still to this day by their absence of conifer trees, he said.

“We are contaminating and simplifying our forests, making them less resilient, worsening climate change, and undermining historical Indigenous connections with the biodiverse forests our region is blessed with. It needs to stop,” said Steidle.

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