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Slash Burning in BC — More Figures


Everyone, I have some additional numbers for slash burning in BC. According to a report issued by the Sierra Club of BC in June 2015, BC government data show that in the ten-year period 2003-12, the carbon dioxide emissions from slash burning in BC were 82 million tonnes, or an average of 8.2 million tonnes (megatons) a year. “Emissions from logging and slash burning alone were 577 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the period 2003-2012. This number is close to B.C.’s entire official emissions during the same 10 year period (638 million tonnes).” For the Sierra Club document, go to:

Sierra Club – Forest Emissions Detailed Backgrounder June 22, 2016

But it gets worse. The BC government document “British Columbia’s Forests and their Management,” dated September 2003, states that “Each year, an average of about 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) of BC is logged, amounting to roughly 75 million cubic metres of timber.” Two of the U.S. Forest Service documents for which I sent you Web links yesterday report slash and other on-site wood waste in the research plots amounting to roughly 50 tons per acre. If the amount of slash and other wood waste burnt in BC clearcuts resembled those in the Oregon test plots, it would mean that the annual total burnt in BC would be 477,000 x 50 = 23,850 tons, producing about 50 megatons a year. (To keep it simple, I’m considering tonnes to be as great as tons; the difference is about one-tenth.) This figure is colossal – pretty close to total emissions from everything that goes on in BC aside from forest emissions. Since the Sierra Club analysts pointed out other ways in which the BC government stats grossly underestimate BC production of carbon dioxide from logging, I can’t help wondering whether the government totals for carbon dioxide from slash burning are the product of intellectual dishonesty.

No wonder the atmosphere in much of BC is so smoky.

Ray Chipeniuk

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