” When I look at the 2022-2023 cup projections, they’ll have what’s left of West Mount. I will not come back. Go to a high altitude ancient forest. »
Lewis Fradit, like the other members of the Chic-Chocs Conservation Committee, has good reason to be concerned.
The ministry’s plan to salvage wood affected by the fir tree moth includes cutting down areas of the Matan wildlife reserve that the commission has been trying to protect for 14 years.
Many of the planned cuts will be at elevations above 650 meters or even 700 meters.
Monts Fernand Favard, the shoulders of Mont Blanc, Mont Jamie Russell, Mont Beaulieu and Mont de Louis will lose their most fragile forests, including old-growth forests where caribou took refuge.
It was precisely after a logging operation on part of Mont-de-Louis in 2007 that the Mont-de-le-Chaux Protection Committee was formed, says Louis Vradit.
The retired teacher remembers most of all the deforestation that took place more than 650 meters above sea level in an ancient forest.
He said it was very clear. We decried it. We were at the ministry. We couldn’t believe it [le ministère] It attacks high forests, these forests are very fragile.
The person who maintains the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) in the Mont de l’Ouest area notes that nearly 15 years after the cut, the area is still deserted.
Trees are two feet tallReports by Mr. Fradit.
Mont-de-Louis culminates at 922 meters, he says, and is the highest peak in the Chic-Chocs west of the Matane River. Moreover, all of these mountains, many of which exceed 1,000 meters in altitude, are among the highest south of the 49th parallel.
Misunderstanding grows for paradise as the forests are more difficult to access in the highlands than in the valleys.
These are trees that are very expensive to bring because you have to build pathsnotes Louis Faradette.
Many of the planned reductions will be carried out near the Gaspé caribou biohabitat.
While Quebec is closing roads to protect caribou from predators, logging companies will open others to access forests that are still intact, notes a spokesperson for the commission.
Ecologically essential trees
The ancient forests around the Parc de la Gaspésie are increasingly essential to the survival of the caribou.
Caribou are allowed to feed on lichen and protect themselves from predatorsFor whom the caribou remains a symbol of the Gaspé identity, underlines Mr. Fradit.
Lewis Fradit cannot explain the decision, especially since the ministry itself is aware that budworm damage is less in the undergrowth.
These trees that live at high altitudes will help replenish the forest at the foot of the mountains, in the valleys, which will be destroyed by the budwormhe argues.
From an environmental point of view, this wood is still very valuable because it will nourish the soil. The decomposition of trees in the lower middle, dead due to fires or epidemics, serves as fertile ground for forest regeneration.
If we go in search of all these dead trees from defoliation, the humus will not be replenished, in addition it will be reduced, and the rain will erode the topsoil and bring it into the waterways and we know this what it does to waterwaysCommentary by Louis Fradit.
” The story repeats itself. It really enlightens us. These are unacceptable things. »
After 14 years of operation, the commission partially won its case in December 2020. A little over a year ago, Quebec agreed to protect 203 kilometers.2 400 kilometers2 That the group wanted to protect from the felling of trees.
The process of making a sector located at the western limit of Parc de la Gaspésie a protected area has begun and the fauna and flora of the territory are now preserved.
However, the entire sector east of the Cap-Chat River up to Matane Lake does not benefit from this protection, although there are many peaks there, including Mont Pointu and Mont de l’Ouest, as well as than the majestic Lac Vallée du Matane.
We insist that [monts] Chic-Chocs even Lac Matane. We are still struggling, comments Louis Fradit. He reminds that in addition to the caribou, several threatened or endangered species reside in the wildlife reserve.
Eagles, thrushes and freshwater mussels
In addition to caribou, these large trees are also home to rare and endangered species such as the golden eagle, which was first sighted around Lac Matani in 1920.
At Lac de la Tête, experienced observers will be able to spot two bald eagles that have been present for several years.
The Bicknell’s thrush, an endangered species, nests on the eastern slope of the Lac Matane valley. Come and breed in the summer in the Chic-Chocs. In its small mountains of 650 meters and more, the castles find there one of their distinctive habitats.
If we don’t take care of it, says Lewis Fradit, it will be another species that will disappear from the planet because it is its homeland.
Lewis Fradit reported the existence of a mussel colony in the far north of America in the mussel colony area. The molluscs live in the waters of the Matane River and Lake. This endangered species could be even more dangerous if the cuts in the mountainside lead to erosion and an accumulation of sediments in the Matanei watershed.
plan for change
This work must be carried out this summer or during the summer of 2023. The development of cuts on public lands in the Bas-Saint-Laurent extends from Esprit-Saint to the limits of the Gaspésie park, in passing through the Matapédia and the New Brunswick border.
In Bas-Saint-Laurent, the areas affected by the fir tree moth increased to nearly 9,500 hectares at the start of the epidemic, in 2012, to reach 1.3 million in 2020.
The same sectors are affected year after yearnotes Félix Tremblay, forest engineer responsible for the management of the Bas-Saint-Laurent management unit.
Quebec launched its consultative process on Field Unit 012-72 on February 16. The consultations will end on March 14. The public can view the work map online and leave comments.
The Wildlife Districts, concerned organizations that are already members of the Integrated Regional Resource Management Table (TGIRT) sent their comments to the Department.
Similar consultations will take place from February 17 to March 14 in the region which includesZEC From the Cap Chat River.
Anyone interested in forest ecology is invited to speak.
We will try to accommodate the interests of all users and there may be an adjustment in the layout accordingly.said Mr. Tremblay.
To have the true picture of the planned cuts, we will therefore have to wait for the end of the public consultation.