FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 6, 2019
Concerned local residents demonstrated today outside seventeen MLA and government offices, demanding science-based protection of B.C.’s old-growth forests, improved forest management and support for First Nations that seek to protect more forest.
Sierra Club BC and concerned citizens are calling on the B.C. government to take immediate steps to save the few remaining intact areas of old-growth forest on Vancouver Island and endangered old-growth forests across the province. These actions are imperative in light of the worsening global climate and ecological emergencies.
The demonstrations are part of a province-wide day of action initiated by Sierra Club BC to highlight the plight of B.C.’s old-growth forests. Demonstrations were held in Oliver, Campbell River, Sidney, Duncan, Courtenay-Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo, Langford, Langley, Nelson, Prince George, Sechelt, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.
“B.C.’s forests are in a state of emergency that cannot be ignored any longer,” said Sierra Club BC’s Galen Armstrong. “This government was elected on a promise to use conservation solutions applied in the Great Bear Rainforest across BC, yet they have failed to act. The longer we delay the less old growth will be left, with negative consequences for communities, endangered species, ecosystems and our climate. Once these trees are gone, they will never come back.”
B.C.’s coastal temperate rainforests are among the rarest ecosystems on the planet, but today less than 10 per cent of Vancouver Island’s largest old-growth trees are left. The current rate of old-growth logging on Vancouver Island is more than thirty soccer fields per day or about 10,000 hectares a year. This logging typically uses industrial clearcutting logging practices.
The loss of BC’s last old-growth forests is threatening plants and animals, carbon storage and environmental services like clean air and clean water. Species that depend on old-growth forests will not survive as the majority of the Island is progressively covered by young, even-aged forests.
Increasing conservation and stringent forestry laws are needed to ensure communities have clean water and clean air as a basis for a diverse economy, including tourism and recreation. These steps are critical to reduce the damage from worsening climate impacts like droughts and flooding.
Moving away from destructive practices like clearcutting must be part of provincial climate action to increase the amount of carbon stored in forests. This will translate into more jobs and less damage per cubic metre wood. Protected areas and logging regulation must also respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The NDP’s 2017 election platform included a commitment to act on old-growth logging, promising to take “an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.” The mandate letter for Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson calls for sustainable management of BC’s old-growth forests. However, it remains unclear what steps the province is planning to take to protect endangered old-growth ecosystems.
Sierra Club BC is calling for immediate action by the provincial government to protect and restore endangered old-growth ecosystems, before intensifying climate impacts like drought, wildfires and storms—coupled with destructive logging practices—further exacerbate pressure on ecosystems.
For more information:
Sierra Club BC’s “White Rhino” map showing Vancouver Island’s most endangered old-growth rainforests and recent old-growth logging: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/white-rhino-map-shows-vancouver-islands-most-endangered-old-growth-rainforests/
Sierra Club BC