For more than a quarter century, logging companies at the government's blessing have been on a tear through British Columbia's expansive interior forests.
In the name of "salvaging" economic value from forests attacked by mountain pine beetles, beginning with a smaller outbreak centered in the Williams Lake area in the 1980s and followed by the much larger beetle epidemic that erupted a decade ago, millions more trees have been logged than would otherwise have been the case.
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the issue has known for years that this spelled trouble. A catastrophic "falldown" in future logging rates loomed because the industry was literally cutting out the ground from beneath its own feet. But the illusion of abundance was sustained as the beetle attacks spread and more timber became available on a one-time basis only to salvage log.