انحلال گیج کننده با عایدی در جنگل های بی سی: تجزیه و تحلیل اقتصادی و صنعت جنگل BC
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|28197||2000||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 34, Issue 1, July 2000, Pages 33–46
Forest exploitation in British Columbia is currently unsustainable. Economic analysis is frequently used to justify the high rate of cut by documenting the revenue, job and wage benefits of current industrial forestry. However, Hicks’ definition of income implies that it is poor accounting practice to count the consumption of natural capital as income. Yet in BC, economic analysis fails to make adjustments for the consumption of forest capital. Such analysis provides society with misleading signals of future economic prospects. By reference to landscape ecology, conservation biology, forest ecology, and ecosystem-based management, this paper sets out requirements for a forest management regime that maintains forest capital intact and for determining a rate of cut that would likely maintain ecosystem structure and function. This ecologically sustainable rate of cut can be seen as an ‘extraction ceiling’. Extraction beyond this ceiling is considered to involve natural capital consumption. This extraction ceiling is used to divide the proceeds from timber extraction into ‘interest’ and ‘depletion’ streams. The interest stream is consistent with maintaining capital intact, and can be considered true income. The depletion stream involves capital consumption. Basing economic analysis of the forest industry on an extraction ceiling encourages debate about defining sustainable extraction levels and about how to make the transition to sustainable forestry. It also shows that the timber industry overstates its contribution to government revenues and to the province’s economic well-being. Critics of industrial forestry in BC have yet to take full advantage of how proper accounting for natural capital depletion can show the advantages to moving towards an ecoforestry approach. By insisting that economists make adjustments where natural capital depletion is projected to occur, advocates of ecoforestry can ensure a more level playing field for the comparison of industrial forestry and ecoforestry.
The forests of British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, range from globally rare coastal temperate rainforests to northern and alpine spruce forests, and cover an area of 59 million hectares, of which slightly less than half is considered commercially important and available for timber cutting (BC Ministry of Forests, 1996). In 1994/1995, 190 000 hectares of public forest were cut, with over 90% of the total volume coming from clearcutting old-growth stands. Most of the forests are publicly owned, with long-term tenures granted to large, vertically integrated forestry corporations. Two-thirds of the annual cut is controlled by the top 17 corporations. The forest industry makes up a declining but still important proportion of provincial GDP; in 1997 there were 78 000 direct employees (4.2% of the provincial labor force) and the industry generated $16 billion (Cdn) in sales (Marchak et al., 1999). The BC forest industry portrays itself as the engine powering the provincial economy: it provides jobs and it fills provincial coffers so that society can afford to have good hospitals, to pay teachers, and to offer social assistance (Price Waterhouse, 1998 and Council of Forest Industries, 1999). Yet there are mounting concerns that industrial forestry is causing unacceptable environmental impacts, including soil degradation, destruction of fish habitat, impairment of water quality, and loss of biodiversity (Hammond, 1991, M’Gonigle, 1997, Sierra Legal Defense Fund, 1997a, Sierra Legal Defense Fund, 1997b and Marchak et al., 1999). BC environmental organizations and disaffected foresters propose an alternative commonly known as ecoforestry (Hammond et al., 1996, Greenpeace, 1997, Silva Forest Foundation, 1999 and Travers, 1999). Under ecoforestry management, clearcuts would be replaced by partial cuts; planning would be ecosystem-based, with much of the forest set off-limits from logging; and cutting would be less frequent to allow the forest to develop old-growth characteristics. As a result, the volume of timber removed annually would fall by 65–90%, a reduction somewhat offset by the fact that timber derived under an ecoforestry management regime would be of higher quality as harvest age would be greater (Scientific Panel, 1995, Hammond et al., 1996 and BC Wild, 1998, p. 33). Proponents of the status quo such as the Council of Forest Industries and the Ministry of Forests argue that the large drop in timber outputs entailed by ecoforestry would cause wages and tax revenues to plummet and British Columbians to lose their high standard of living (Wilson, 1998 and Council of Forest Industries, 1999). All participants in the forestry debate fail to address a fundamental accounting error. In British Columbia the consumption of the forest’s natural capital is treated as income. The province is involved in an unacknowledged form of deficit financing. Current comparisons between industrial forestry and ecoforestry are thus unfair. Until critics of industrial forestry tackle this accounting sleight of hand, they place themselves at a disadvantage in challenging the status quo. Ecoforestry is designed to maintain natural capital (Travers, 1999); industrial forestry was designed to liquidate natural capital, replacing BC’s old-growth forest inheritance1 with tree plantations that fail to provide the same range of ecosystem services (Hammond, 1991 and Marchak et al., 1999). The situation in BC has parallels around the globe. As the co-chairs of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development wrote in the foreword to their report, ‘Rather than living on the ‘interest’ of the ‘natural capital’, we are borrowing from poorer communities and from future generations’ (World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, 1999, p. 4). This article proposes a pragmatic approach to correcting for renewable natural capital consumption in economic analysis of BC’s forest industry. It does not address the consumption of non-renewable natural capital. This article makes three main points: • economic analysis ought to make adjustments for natural capital consumption; • BC is failing to maintain forest capital intact, yet government and industry are treating the proceeds from unsustainable industrial forestry as if it were income; and • advocates of forestry reform should push for proper accounting for natural capital depletion such that the implications of both status quo policies and of making the transition to a sustainable alternative are more accurately portrayed.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The concerns raised in this paper are not new. The problems created when capital is consumed have been noted in BC since at least 1954, when the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations wrote the following about BC’s economy (Royal Commission on Dominion Provincial Relations, 1954): Services and a standard of living established and financed by treating capital depletion as current income will be subject to extreme pressures when the first phase of exploitation passes. Major economic and social adjustments will be necessary… in no other province are the problems of depreciation and depletion as important to the provincial economy and public finance. Treating capital depletion as income was unacceptable in the 1950s. Given current ecological knowledge, and the degraded state of many of the province’s forests, it is inexcusable today. It turns out that the forest industry is not the engine powering BC’s economy, but the locomotive carting off the province’s natural wealth, the building blocks for a sustainable economy. The BC forest industry is now in crisis; the liquidation phase of forestry is abruptly coming to an end. Let us return to the debate in BC about moving to a more sustainable forest industry. Those who benefit from the status quo frighten the public with tales of reduced government revenue and services if the level of cut goes down. Many counter arguments are offered, but if the improper treatment of capital consumption is not challenged, the debate takes place on an unlevel playing field. The modest, but long-term benefits from ecoforestry, which maintains natural capital, are compared to the short-term benefits of industrial forestry, which consumes natural capital. The faster industrial forestry uses up natural capital, the greater the apparent benefits, and the less that ecoforestry appears as an attractive alternative. Ecoforestry advocates have implicitly been arguing for good forestry economics since they seek to maintain the forest’s capital intact. As El Serafy has noted, it is ‘a poor economist indeed who is unable to tell capital from income’ (El Serafy, 1989, p. 11). Any analysis that does not refer back to the ecological base on which the forest sector depends to determine if capital is maintained intact or not is indeed poor economic analysis. If economic analysis in BC paid attention to natural capital depletion, resource managers would face pressure to ensure resource management regimes maintained ecological integrity and natural capital. It would broaden notions of good economic performance in the forest industry (Gale et al., 1999). Referring back to Hicks, good economics should give humankind an indication of how much can be consumed without impoverishing ourselves — or future generations. Whether we impoverish ourselves by consuming human-made or natural capital, the principle remains the same. Economic theory aside, in the long run, it is natural capital consumption that should cause society and economists the greatest concern. For without natural capital, the manufactured capital of sawmills and value-added facilities will have to be written off as scrap — if there are any economists left to correct the books.