Despite statements from Ministry of Forests, giant spruce in photo not large enough to be protected under 2020 regulation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 28, 2021
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Despite misleading statements from B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, the giant Sitka spruce that was seen being hauled across Vancouver Island is almost certainly not large enough to be protected under the Special Tree Protection Regulation that came into effect on Sept. 11, of 2020.
“This photo is a shocking example of the size of ancient trees that can still be logged today even after the B.C. government finally released a Special Tree Regulation in 2020. The regulation was designed to ensure it wouldn’t significantly affect the industry.” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s senior forest and climate campaigner.
In an emailed response sent to media outlets, including CBC News, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests said the tree was cut between March and mid-August of last year “a month before the Special Tree Protection Regulation came into effect on Sept. 11, of 2020.”
“Government brought in this regulation to protect exceptionally large trees of all species throughout the province, and today, a tree of this size might well be illegal to harvest under the regulation, and fines of up to $100,000 could be imposed if it was,” the email said according to multiple outlets.
But the 2020 Special Tree Regulation was designed to leave almost all big trees without protection. Sitka Spruce are only protected if they have a diameter equal to or larger than 2.83 meters at breast height, Yellow Cedars at 2.65 meters, coastal Douglas-Firs at 2.7 meters, coastal Redcedar at 3.85 meters and non-coastal Redcedar at 2.9 meters. Keeping in mind that in B.C. the maximum load width is 2.6 meters, old-growth trees of the size and species in the photo can still be legally logged today.
The recent statements by the province’s Ministry of Forests about the Special Tree Protection Regulation are misleading at best, but they also undermine any remaining trust in the B.C. government’s political will to implement the promised paradigm shift in how forestry is done in the province.
With less than 2.7 percent of old-growth forests capable of supporting trees like the one in the picture remaining, the health of communities, our environment and all the beings that call these forests home depend on our collective efforts to protect the last intact forests.
BC’s Special Tree Protection Regulation
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
firstname.lastname@example.org, (604) 354-5312
Photo: Lorna Beecroft’s Facebook page