10 Reasons to Save Old-Growth Forests
Old-growth forests are one of our best climate allies. By storing carbon, providing homes for wildlife, and defending communities from climate change (just to name a few), trees provide us with so much.
These irreplaceable endangered old-growth forests are still being logged like there is no tomorrow. The total area of old-growth forest logged annually across the province is more than 140,000 hectares—an area twice the size of Greater Victoria. That’s more than 500 soccer fields’ worth of old-growth forests being clearcut every day in BC. Cutting the last old-growth is unsustainable. Long-term forestry jobs require improved forest management and innovation.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to protect these ancient ecosystems. To prove it, we’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons to #SaveOldGrowth down below. Plus, we’ve thrown in some great bonus articles if you want to dive deeper.
1. The world’s last remaining intact forests and the life support systems we all depend on are a legacy for all future generations.
Read more: Why Vancouver Island’s giant trees have never been more valuable and more in danger
2. Logging the last old-growth threatens the cultural values of Indigenous peoples who have stewarded these forests since time immemorial.
Read more: Old-growth logging threatens culture, says Nuu-chah-nulth tribal council
3. Old-growth forests have accumulated huge amounts of carbon per hectares and clearcutting them releases massive amounts of carbon back into the atmosphere. Protecting old-growth means reducing emissions quickly and keeping the carbon where it belongs.
Read more: Preserve Old-Growth Forests to Keep Carbon Where It Belongs
4. Many of BC’s last old-growth forests are among the most resilient forests and will better cope with worsening climate change impacts than young forests. Old-growth is critical to protect communities from droughts, floods and wildfires.
Read more: Changing Climate, Vanishing Old Growth Bring Increased Fire Risk for Coastal Forests
5. Independent polling shows that an overwhelming majority of British Columbians want the province to take action for endangered old-growth forests.
Read more: Poll finds 92% of British Columbians want old growth forests protected
6. Logging the last unprotected old-growth is arguably not sustainable. Once cut it will only be more difficult to create a diverse economy including sectors like tourism and recreation. Business as usual is not going to end well, either for ecosystems or forestry jobs.
Read more: Clearcutting B.C.’s last old-growth leaves all of us poorer, forever
7. We are in the midst of a global extinction crisis. Scientists fear a million species could go extinct in coming decades. We must protect old-growth forests which many species-at-risk rely on.
Read more: Jens Wieting and Torrance Coste: Logging B.C.’s ancient forests adds to extinctions
8. BC’s old-growth forests have been reduced to a fraction. Clearcutting what remains is causing more conflict as communities seek to defend what is left and push back against extreme old-growth logging.
Read more: BC has entered the era of extreme old-growth logging. We must stop it
9. International headlines about the lack of protection of BC’s endangered old-growth forests and weak forestry laws undermine BC’s reputation globally, particularly of the provincial forestry sector.
Read more: (Un)clearcut
10. Protecting the last ancient rainforest and centuries-old trees is a moral responsibility. We must stand up for these ecologically and culturally vital forests.
Read more: Can you put a price on the beauty of the natural world?