Sierra Club BC extremely concerned about lack of provincial transparency on old-growth promises
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2022
VANCOUVER/UNCEDED xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) TERRITORIES – Sierra Club BC is extremely concerned that yesterday’s B.C. government old-growth announcement didn’t offer an update on progress for deferrals across the 2.6 million hectares of the most at-risk old-growth forests in B.C. The last provincial update from April 2022 showed that only about 40% of these most at-risk stands had been deferred.
The B.C. government also didn’t offer an update about deferrals for imminently threatened stands with logging permits already issued (48,000 hectares). In recent months, Sierra Club BC and other NGOs found that tens of thousands of hectares of the 2.6 million hectares of most at-risk forests have already been logged or could be logged soon.
Instead, the B.C. government stated that old-growth logging had declined to a record low. The limited data included, however, shows a relatively stable annual old-growth logging rate for the last three years (2019, 2020 and 2021), translating to 151 soccer fields cut per day in 2019 and 2020, and 147 soccer fields cut per day in 2021, with no significant difference between the year before the province promised to implement old-growth recommendations (2019) and the year after (2021).
Ongoing old-growth logging with no certainty whether at-risk stands will be spared threatens the provincial goal to make the “prioritization of ecosystem health a central focus of the Province’s shift to Forest Landscape Planning and Land Use Planning processes”.
“It was encouraging to hear from Premier-designate Eby that he wants to accelerate implementation of the old-growth recommendations,” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner. “This provincial update shows that we need a dramatic shift in leadership and transparency about progress. Safeguarding the last, irreplaceable old-growth forests for future generations requires both honest assessment and acceleration. It’s not too late to save what’s left but the window to act is closing rapidly.”
As a starting point, an honest and transparent old-growth update from the B.C. government would require the following information (including regional data):
- The number of hectares deferred from logging in the 2.6 million hectares most at-risk
- The number of hectares deferred from logging in other unprotected at-risk forest categories
- The number of hectares of newly permanently protected at-risk old-growth forests since 2020
- At least 10 years of annual logging data for old-growth for all at-risk categories
For more background about the implementation of the OGSR recommendations, see our September 2022 joint NGO report card
- Media release: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/at-risk-forests-continue-to-be-destroyed/
- Report card: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022_Old-Growth_ReportCard-1.pdf
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
email@example.com, (604) 354-5312
Featured photo by TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance.