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Glyphosate, banned in the city, authorized in the forests ts of British Columbia

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Helicopter sprays glyphosate on Crown land near Prince George, Colombia -British. (Archive photo)

  • Edouard Merlo (View profile)Edouard Merlo

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

Environmental activists gathered Thursday in Vancouver to call on the provincial government to eliminate pesticides in British Columbia's forests.

In the metropolis of Vancouver, pesticides have no longer been used in public spaces for aesthetic purposes for around ten years.

Glyphosate out. The message in red letters, which translates to “Glyphosate out! », on a drawing of a forest which we can imagine devastated by the use of herbicide welcomes visitors.

The hundred people gathered at the Heritage Hall in Vancouver, at the initiative of the environmental group Wilderness Committee, were of the same opinion. They challenged the use of herbicides, including glyphosate, by forestry companies and government agencies in British Columbia.

Glyphosate helps kill hardwood trees, such as aspen, and herbaceous plants. The woodlands are therefore much more homogeneous, and the conifers have almost no competition.

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James Steidle, founder of Stop the Spray BC, assures use of this pesticide promotes forest fires.

Let's not forget the amount of money we spend each year fighting forest fires. This is hundreds of millions of dollars. And we are spending even more money to make these fires worse by creating plantations of highly flammable conifers. Is there any rationality within the Ministry of Forests?, the activist is indignant.

The Ministry of Forests of Colombia Britton responded by email to these remarks: The use of herbicides like glyphosate in forestry operations has decreased by 96% in British Columbia since the 1990s.

The government also adds that forest stocking standards have evolved as more has been learned about the different factors at play, particularly in allowing the inclusion of more broad-leaved species in reforestation standards.

James Steidle says that just because pesticide spraying takes place far from cities doesn't mean it doesn't concern the population. It's a bit hypocritical that public parks can't be treated with herbicides or Roundup, but we can spray public forests with this stuff.

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James Steidle, founder of Stop the Spray BC, says aspens naturally thrive after a fire, but they are also less vulnerable to flames than conifers.

The activist says he is attentive to indigenous peoples and their use of these public forest spaces.

Let's not forget that people use public forests, that they pick berries in public forests. The culture and history of the First Nations are based on the diversity of the forests and on the fact that there are not only pine plantations, he adds.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Glyphosate was first authorized in Canada in 1976 and is found in more than 100 weedkillers. It has come under increased scrutiny since the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization, declared in 2015 that it causes probably cancer.

For its part, Health Canada responded by email that the herbicide was subjected to a rigorous scientific evaluation process and that the use of glyphosate in forestry and agriculture is acceptable, when the method of ;use indicated on the label is respected.

The federal ministry also clarified that the herbicide is not used indiscriminately.< /p>

Glyphosate is only used in the first five years after harvest, either before planting new trees (site preparation), or after planting young plants (clearing conifers, thinning the stand). A forest cultivation site would therefore receive one or, at most, two treatments at the very beginning of a cultivation cycle of 50 to 80 years, wrote Health Canada.

In Richmond, as in a dozen other municipalities in the Vancouver metropolitan area, the use of pesticides is banned for aesthetic use, but remains authorized for special cases such as the management of harmful organisms that transmit human or animal diseases. .

Egan Davis, manager of Richmond parks operations, developed a strategy based on competition between plants to eliminate weeds. p>

Philosophically, the best way to control weeds is to outcompete them, because in nature, plant ecology relies on competition. Weeds exist where there is no competition, he explains.

The use of herbicides and insecticides is just a band-aid for a symptom of a much bigger problem.

A quote from Egan Davis, Richmond parks operations manager

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The pine mugo is a tree or shrub whose height does not exceed 2 to 3 meters.

Egan Davis takes the example of the mugo pine which outperforms all possibilities of weed growth.

Woody plants produce shrub cover. The idea regarding weeds is that, ecologically, they will exist in nature after disturbance of bare soil. If we cover it, we won't have weeds, he explains.

He adds that it's cheaper than glyphosate. The use of these chemicals and the labor associated with mixing, use and disposal increases our costs. It is therefore less costly for us not to use herbicides, he concludes.

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