Fall 2019-January 2020
The BC government has appointed an independent panel to engage the public on the ecological, economic and cultural importance of old-growth trees and forests.
We encourage all British Columbia residents to write to the panel to express their views on old-growth forests. Their processes aren’t great, but we have to use this opportunity to press hard on the need to protect old-growth right now, not later. With old-growth forests in peril in this province, it’s important that our voices be heard, because urgent action is necessary.
This is what the panel has asked to hear from the public:
-What old-growth means to you and how you value it
-Your perspective on how old-growth is managed now
-How you think old-growth could be managed more effectively in the future
Have your say before January 31
Feedback can be sent by filling out the questionnaire or emailing written submissions and it is due by 4pm on Friday January 31. Scroll down for info resources you can use in writing your response. Responses written in your own words will be given more weight, so please write from the heart about why it’s important to you to protect old-growth.
Fill out the questionnaire: https://feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/747451?lang=en
Please note that you are able to skip questions. There is a text box at the end of the questionnaire to share your reasoning and any additional thoughts on old-growth protection.
You can learn more about the Strategic Review process here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/oldgrowth/
You can also join Sierra Club BC supporters in completing the survey or writing a letter at one of our letter-writing parties:
- Victoria at the Fernwood Inn (1302 Gladstone Avenue) Tuesday January 28, 5:30-7pm. RSVP on Facebook
- Richmond on January 19, 4-7pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the address. RSVP on Facebook
Bring a laptop if you have one. If you don’t, there will be extra laptops to use.
Information on Old-Growth Forests
We have prepared a set of resources on old-growth forests in BC and encourage you to view it to help inform your viewpoint.
- Our Old-Growth Forest Fact Sheet
- Our forest webinar series (see “Old-Growth Update” for a webinar specifically about this review process)
- Sierra Club BC’s forest campaign website, with a wealth of links to resources, media releases, fact sheets and maps.
- Our old-growth media backgrounder
- Our Clearcut Carbon report and a recent report from Dr. Jim Pojar, which show the value of old-growth for storing carbon to address the climate crisis
- Latest polling data (9 in 10 British Columbians Support Protecting Old-Growth)
Legal changes are needed to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in forestry laws in order to respect Indigenous jurisdiction and governance, support Indigenous-led conservation, and support economic alternatives for Nations that seek to protect more land. We encourage supporters to gain an understanding of UNDRIP and to learn about Indigenous law with resources from UVic’s Indigenous Law Research Unit.
The panel is made up of two people: Garry Merkel (forester and member of the Tahltan Nation in Northwestern BC) and Al Gorley (forester). They have a history of working with industry and government. They insist that they will be truly independent and will develop their recommendations without censorship from the provincial government.
Their mandate is to listen and to summarize what they hear, reporting back to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) in spring 2020 with “recommendations that are expected to inform a new approach to old-growth management for British Columbia.”
Call for Bold Changes to Forestry Laws Too
The BC government has also been thinking about how to improve the way forests are managed in BC. Soon, through a separate process, it’ll be revealing changes to the Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA).
Changes to forestry laws need to include protections for old-growth. Let’s make sure this government gets the message that intact forests are important for bears and salmon, for Indigenous peoples, for storing carbon and for protecting communities in the face of climate change.
Photo: TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance