But B.C. government old-growth announcement leaves fate of most at-risk old-growth forests uncertain
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2023
VANCOUVER/UNCEDED xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) TERRITORIES – Sierra Club BC welcomes the province’s repeal of wording in the Forest and Range Practices Act regulations that prioritizes timber supply over all other forest objectives, including water quality, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity.
“Removing timber bias language from forestry laws can clear the path for the paradigm shift outlined in the Old-Growth panel recommendations the province promised to implement with Indigenous Nations. But we need the promised acceleration in implementation before it’s too late to safeguard at-risk forests and restore degraded forests,” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner.
Sierra Club BC is very concerned, however, about the lack of details and transparency on protecting old-growth forests in today’s announcement. In 2021, the province shared expert mapping showing the 2.6 million hectares of old-growth forest in B.C. that is most at-risk, and recommended logging deferrals in those areas. Today’s announcement did not state how much of these forests have been deferred from logging, offering only a broad-brush update on overall old-growth deferrals instead. In April 2022, less than half of the most at-risk old-growth forests were deferred from logging (1.05 million hectares).
“Today’s announcement leaves people in B.C. uncertain about whether we are safeguarding the most at-risk old-growth forests in this province, which are also among the rarest on the planet. We are still stuck at the most basic and urgent step on the path towards full implementation of the promised paradigm-shift in forest stewardship to safeguard biodiversity,” said Shelley Luce, Campaigns Director at Sierra Club BC.
Some more positive steps in today’s announcement include new funding for regional land-use planning as well as for manufacturing jobs that will create more jobs per tree cut in B.C. These programs can support transition in the forestry sector, provided that solutions to safeguard at-risk forests and restore degraded landscapes are in place.
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
email@example.com, (604) 354-5312
Featured photo by TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance.