how much basing on ‘based’ is the best basis for ecosystem-based…

This is not a nursery rhyme I intend to teach my kids. I think I’ll stick with: how much wood can a woodchuck chuck?

Hey, wait… that’s not a bad question — how MUCH wood can a woodchuck chuck?

Well… if that woodchuck is made by Finning, or Caterpillar, or Madill (wait… they went bankrupt) — then it can chuck a lot of wood. So if a woodchuck is chucking wood in Canada’s Boreal Forest — how much wood can it chuck before it chucks a caribou or two?


I suppose the nine enviro groups and multiple logging companies that signed the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement are suggesting that we should trust that they know how to accurately measure (or will learn quickly) how much wood a ‘sustainable’ woodchuck can chuck before it chucks a caribou… or a woodchuck for that fact (oh… the irony). But wait… in the logging industry it’s called hoe-chucking (when a track hoe moves fallen wood from the previous forest, to landings at roads).

So how much wood can a woodchuck hoe-chuck…? (ok… enough)

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See this is where ecosystem-based planning comes in… But then whenever I see anything followed by (or even preceded by) “based”… I always tend to ask: how “based”?

Like a Hollywood movie “based” on a true story… it’s true story-based, but how much truth-based? and how much entertainment-based? And how much just plain made-up-based?

Or protein-based smoothie… how much protein-based? All? 86.78%? 50%? 10%?

Or how about one of my new favorites: vegetable-based plastics? Apparently Sony has been doing work in this area. Sounds good, hey? But how “-based”?

Then there’s biodiesel; vegetable-based fuel.

Or soy-based inks? — supposed to be way better than petroleum-based inks…

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From the “Abridged” Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement:

basing the basis for based

I’m not to sure the theory behind having to state “on-the-ground” within the agreement — last time I checked that’s where forestry happens… And even sustainable forest management; but then maybe that’s the point — the folks that concocted this thing realized that some critical individuals (not mentioning any names…) might suggest: “sustainable forest management practices” are a nice idea on paper, but rarely practiced “on-the-ground”…

But here we have it: confirmation that these “sustainable” practices will be “on-the-ground”. Or better yet: “on-the-ground”-based.

Because, as this goal states the sustainable forest management practices (the on-the-ground ones) will be “based” on the principles of ecosystem-based management, etc.

So how much will they be “based” on them? As much as the movie Apollo 13 was “based” on actual events — or more like the yam-based excrement of my infant son who has taken to solid foods like a seal to salmon.

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Maybe I’m being overly picky with wording; however, as I can’t say enough… when folks start marketing something as “world-leading”, or the “world’s biggest conservation agreement” (but oh yeah, it didn’t include any governments…), or “historic”… then it better have some substance, some serious grit. It better say what it means, and means what it says.

To try and understand what this first “Goal” is suggesting is near impossible. To understand what “ecosystem-based” actually is, or “active adaptive management” — one needs to turn to the definitions section of the agreement.

Trust me… clarity is not to be found there.

from Final version - now posted on website

“Management systems that attempt…”

1. What the heck is a management system in relation to ecosystems…?

2. Ecosystem-based is defined by “attempting…!?

3. And worse yet, attempting to  “emulate”!?

Folks, please, please check your definition of words before using. Emulate means… basically to imitate: “To strive to equal or excel, especially through imitation” . So, sticking with the theme here… it’s “imitation-based” .

So what we have here is a “management system” that is “attempting” to imitate “ecological patterns and processes”… with the goal of maintaining and/or restoring natural levels of ecosystem composition, bla, bla, bla?

How does one “attempt” to imitate “restoration” of an ecosystem by logging it, or pieces of it?

Like… really… how does one best “maintain natural levels of ecosystem composition, structure, and function”?

Well…leave it the hell alone is not a bad starting point.

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Wait though… the number one goal of this agreement is to have this great “sustainable” forest management (by 21 companies — many of them massive multi-national conglomerates with one sole purpose secure as much “wood fibre” as possible — like I alluded to at the beginning how much wood can a “sustainable” woodchuck chuck…?) BASED on principles of Ecosystem-BASED management.

You know….. that management system that attempts to imitate nature…

So how “based” is this sustainable forest management going to be “based” on principles of ecosystem-based management??

“Principles” is another curious choice; it means: “A basic truth, law, or assumption.” Well… ecosystem-based management is neither a “truth” or a “law” and thus it must be an “assumption”.

And so folks you have designed and signed a “voluntary”, “aspirational” agreement that has, as its #1 Goal an airy-fairy statement about some loosely defined ideal — sustainable forest management —  (oh but wait, it’s not actual management… it’s “practices”: something done to polish skills…).

This “practicing” for sustainable forest management (which is not defined in the agreement) will be “based” (we don’t how much) on “principles” (i.e. assumptions) of ecosystem-based management — which is a system of imitating nature.

And this will all be confirmed through a system of “Audits”.

Audit: “An examination of records or financial accounts to check their accuracy.”

Auditing nature.


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