Sign up for our next live webinar on old-growth forests on November 14.
November 23 and 25
Sointula and Campbell River, BC
Forests and the industries they support are changing on the west coast. Please join Sierra Club BC and the Wilderness Committee for presentations on the climate crisis, the state of old-growth and second-growth forests on Vancouver Island and how these two relate to each other. This will be followed by a discussion about how we can build a just and sustainable future together.
Climate change and decades of forest mismanagement are—and will continue to be—major challenges into the future. How can we build interest in meaningful change on both these interconnected issues and with the speed required? How can we do this in a way that benefits everyone and respects the sovereignty of the First Nations in whose territories we live?
These are the questions we want to dive into.
All perspectives are welcome, and we want to issue a challenge that everyone interested taking part in this conversation: try to bring one other person who may not otherwise attend an event like this.
These events are being held on the territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. The organizers recognize that all forests grow on Indigenous territories and that all solutions must centre justice for Indigenous peoples and Nations.
Sointula: Saturday November 23 from 2-4 PM (F.O. Hall, 1st St, Sointula).
Campbell River: Monday November 25 from 7-9 PM (Campbell River Community Center, 401 11th Ave, Campbell River).
For more information, please contact: email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 4, 2019
Ninety-two per cent of British Columbians support taking action to defend endangered old-growth forests, a new Research Co. poll has found.
The poll, which was commissioned by Sierra Club BC, revealed 62 per cent strongly support taking action.
These views are widely held across the province, with 90 per cent or more in southern B.C. and the Fraser Valley, 87 per cent on northern Vancouver Island and 83 per cent in northern B.C.
British Columbians also overwhelmingly believe it is important for the B.C. government to keep its election promise to take action on old-growth forests, including more protection for old-growth trees, less logging, partnerships with First Nations and support for a more diversified economy. Ninety-two per cent agreed with this statement.
About four in five British Columbians cited the following reasons to care about defending old-growth forests:
- Old-growth forests are important for First Nations cultural values;
- They give us clean water and help clean the air;
- Old-growth forests capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, which helps defend communities from the extreme weather caused by climate change;
- Many important and rare species depend on old-growth;
- Old-growth forests are globally rare and important, and should be protected as a legacy for future generations.
Sierra Club BC is calling on all levels of government to take immediate steps to defend endangered, carbon-rich old-growth forests and the vital environmental services they provide. Governments must transition to improved, truly sustainable forest management practices that work for people, communities and ecosystems and that respect Indigenous rights and jurisdiction.
“British Columbians care deeply about the endangered old-growth forests in this province, and want to do more to defend them,” said Sierra Club BC’s campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon. “The climate crisis means the provincial government must put the brakes on the rapid logging of endangered old-growth forests. We can protect big old trees and have sustainable forest jobs into the future, but only if we act quickly to increase protection and improve forest management.”
“The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council are empowered to learn that such a high percentage of British Columbians want to see old-growth forest retained and recognize the immense value they have to all living things,” said President Judith Sayers of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. “The taking of the old-growth forests destroys our sacred places, ecosystems, medicinal plants and habitat for wildlife and if we managed our forests this would not happen. We call upon the B.C. government to work with Nuu-chah-nulth to manage these forests so we can all continue to benefit from their richness. Once B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act becomes law, the B.C. government must amend forestry laws and regulations to ensure the rights of the Nuu-chah-nulth in old-growth forests are respected so we might as well start that protection immediately.”
The B.C. government is currently amending provincial forestry laws, the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), with amendments scheduled to be tabled in spring 2020.
Separately, the B.C. government has launched a new panel to gather feedback from British Columbians on old-growth forests. However, recommendations from this panel will not inform the FRPA amendments, they will not be shared until late 2020, and there is no commitment to bringing them into law.
“The B.C. government can avoid a ‘talk and log’ situation of ongoing old-growth forest destruction by taking bold action for old-growth in their FRPA amendments in 2020,” said senior forests and climate campaigner Jens Wieting. “Across the province, close to one Stanley Park’s worth of old-growth forest is cut down every single day. We must close loopholes and increase protection of endangered old-growth in existing forestry laws, to leave a legacy for future generations. A new old-growth panel is no substitute for immediate conservation of the most endangered old-growth forests before they’re destroyed.”
[Results are based on an online study conducted from September 25 to September 28, 2019, among 842 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.4 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.]
Editors/Producers: Photo and video footage of old-growth forests and forest destruction on Vancouver Island is located at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ie48VmdMwCcVS9Q6GqbTDzxao_Fq1zUY
Research Co. Factum: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/Factum_OldGrowthPoll_Oct2019-1.pdf
Backgrounder on old-growth forests in B.C.: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/OldGrowthBackgrounder_Nov2019v2.pdf
For media inquiries:
Communications Director, Sierra Club BC
President, Research Co.
Photo: Mya Van Woudenberg/Sierra Club BC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 23, 2019
Members of the Clayoquot Sound Conservation Alliance (CSCA) are congratulating the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations for securing a key federal commitment to advance their land-use visions in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia, which will conserve the remaining ecologically-rare old growth forests in this iconic region.
Earlier this week, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna announced that the federal government is committing to partner with the two Nations on land-use visions for their territories. This commitment includes funding through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program and will safeguard the remaining old-growth forests in Clayoquot Sound.
The Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht Nations, along with Nature United, put forward an inspiring and innovative proposal to achieve long term community well-being and ecological integrity in their territories and result in a lasting conservation solution for one of the most iconic rainforest regions of the world. The proposal is part of the Nations’ broader plans for economic, social, and ecological well-being — safeguarding the ecologically intact temperate rainforest valleys of Clayoquot Sound is a key part of that vision.
The members of the Clayoquot Sound Conservation Alliance – Canopy, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC, Stand.earth and Wilderness Committee – fully support the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations’ visions. The federal announcement is an important step toward making the conservation of Clayoquot Sound’s globally rare old-growth rainforests a reality. We commend the federal government for their commitment to partner with the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht Nations on this vision for a sustainable future, and encourage all levels of government to fully support Indigenous-led conservation initiatives.
We look forward to hearing more details from both the federal and provincial governments about the scope and scale of their support for this work to safeguard Clayoquot Sound.
For more information, please contact:
Lee-Ann Unger, Corporate Campaigner, Canopy (604) 874-5049
Jeh Custerra, Campaigner, Friends of Clayoquot Sound (250) 725-4218
Eduardo Sousa, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada (778) 378-9955
Tegan Hansen, Forest Campaigner, Stand.earth (250) 354-3302
Joe Foy, Co-Executive Director, Wilderness Committee (604) 880-2580
July 27-28, 2019
Kaxi:ks (Big River) – Central Walbran Valley
Join the Friends of Carmanah Walbran, Wilderness Committee – Victoria Office, Sierra Club BC and all lovers of the incredible Walbran Valley for a weekend to celebrate past activism to keep this rainforest standing, and re-commit to fighting together for environmental justice here and everywhere.
This family friendly event takes place in the heart of the central Walbran, or Kaxi:ks (Big River), in unceded Pacheedaht territory. We recognize Pacheedaht sovereignty in this valley, and want a solution for this rainforest that includes the return of land to the Nation and social and economic justice for its people.
Saturday evening: Speakers 5pm, Community Dinner 6pm.
Despite the climate crisis and the fact that the majority of low-elevation productive old-growth forest has already been logged, the Walbran still faces the threat of industrial logging. By holding space in this valley together, we aim to highlight and celebrate the values this place holds outside of its value as timber.
Because of the costs and time-consuming nature of providing bus transport, we’ve opted not to rent a bus for the Convergence this year. Instead we will coordinate rideshares and look into renting smaller shuttle vans, with options to accommodating those planning a day trip and overnighters. All info will be posted on this page.
– Carpooling: If you have a seat available or need a ride please post on this site: http://www.groupcarpool.com/t/39kmws
– Book a seat in a rental van! Contact Jessie for more info and to reserve a spot: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Self-transportation is always an option, see here for driving instructions: https://friendsofcarmanahwalbran.com/visit-the-central-walbran-driving-instructions/
As always, a focal point of the Convergence will be a community dinner on Saturday (the 27th) evening. The meal will be coordinated by the amazing Jon Cash, with vegetarian/vegan/gluten free options available. The meal will be ticketed, so please buy your meal in advance.
A pancake breakfast will be provided by donation on Sunday (the 28th) morning, coordinated by our pals at Sierra Club BC. All additional meals and snacks are the responsibility of individual attendees.
Saturday dinner will be available on a sliding scale of $15-30 and breakfast on the Sunday morning will be by suggested donation of $10-20. Meals can be arranged by etransfer to email@example.com or through cash-drop at Wildfire Bakery (1517 Quadra St.) or the Wilderness Committee office (#202, 3 Fan Tan Alley).
PLEASE BRING your own plates and cutlery. Volunteers are needed for the food committee — please email Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re able to help out.
DINNER MENU (Saturday @ 6pm):
– Free Run Organic Pulled Smoked Chicken BBQ Sliders on
Brioche Buns (GF available)
– Vegan/GF Sliders
– Taku Lodge Baked Bean (vegan/GF)
– Organic Coleslaw (Vegan/GF option available)
– Vanilla & Mango Infused Watermelon wedges
– Wildfire Breads and Roast Red Pepper Hummus
This year we’ve shifted the opening ceremony to become a pre-dinner ceremony that will take place at 5pm on the 27th, featuring a welcome from Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, other speakers, and announcements about the weekend. After dinner, a few acoustic musical acts will play through the sunset on the Bridge.
Several workshops are being planned, to take place over the course of Saturday and Sunday morning. If you’re interested in leading a workshop at the Convergence, please contact Emily at email@example.com.
Guided hikes will also be offered, happening on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
More information about the schedule, workshops and hikes will be posted on this page in the coming weeks, and will also be posted in the valley on the weekend of.
As always, campsites are first come, first served. We ask everyone to consider choosing campsites on the road and to do all cooking and things like that on the road, to limit our impact on the forest. For folks who are able to pack all their gear in a backpack, we’ll likely ask you to move your cars up the hill from the main camp to provide more space. We ask for your patience as we’ll likely ask folks to move vehicles and keep space free along the road around the bridge for events, speakers, workshops, etc.
There will more than likely be a fire ban on, so there will be zero tolerance for fires of any kind. We request that everyone practice leave-no-trace camping, wash dishes in designated areas, and use the outhouses (so lovingly dug by WC and FoCW volunteers) rather than the woods.
We hope to see you out in Kaxi:ks, for what is always the highlight of the summer! Sierra Club BC’s Karli Mann and Elisabeth Hazell will be there, come say hello!
For any questions about the weekend, please contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This event is being held in the unceded territory of the Pacheedaht Nation, and the organizers promote efforts to decolonize environmental activism in the fight to protect Kaxi:ks and all ancient rainforests.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 10, 2019
VICTORIA—A new report prepared by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre (ELC) for Sierra Club BC calls for thirty per cent base level protection of old-growth ecosystems and intact forests across the province as part of the provincial government’s amendments to provincial forestry regulations.
The report entitled Applying Solutions from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements to Vancouver Island, the South Coast, and Beyond recommends implementing the minimum level of protection that is used in the Great Bear Rainforest in all parts of B.C. The Great Bear Rainforest is the only major B.C. region with a land use framework that seeks to maintain ecological integrity as the basis for human well-being.
This is in stark comparison to weak current provincial forestry standards, which have led to an ecological emergency for many old-growth ecosystems across the remainder of the province. The report comes as the B.C. government is inviting input until July 15 to improve the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).
“Increasing protection of old-growth and intact forest to a minimum of thirty per cent in every landscape across the province can be considered one of the most important steps the B.C. government should include in reformed forestry laws in 2020 to address the growing climate and biodiversity crisis,” said Keith Schille, the law student who wrote the ELC report.
“British Columbia’s forestry regulation is in dire need of reform, but we have one major region in the province with a conservation model based on modern science in the Great Bear Rainforest. B.C. should apply some of the learnings from this region in the rest of the province, alongside traditional ecological knowledge from Indigenous peoples,” said Erin Gray, one of the supervising lawyers on the ELC report.
“Many of B.C.’s old-growth forests are close to the brink. Time is running out and we need government leadership action that respects the limits of nature in the interest of future generations. This report describes a first step the province can take to address this emergency,” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s senior forest and climate campaigner.
In addition to the base level protection, further conservation must be determined as part of the process of modernizing regional land use plans with Indigenous Nations on a government-to-government basis. These agreements should incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into all decision making processes.
Solutions that address Indigenous rights and interests are needed for both public and private lands, all of which are on the territories of Indigenous peoples. The B.C. government should partner with the federal government to enable Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and contribute to the international and national commitment to protect seventeen per cent of the land by 2020.
“From T’Sou-ke natural law, only together can we ensure a healthy environment for our children and our children not born yet,” said Chief Gordon Planes Hya-Quatcha of the T’Sou-ke First Nation, a member of the Indigenous Circle of Experts.
Sierra Club BC is calling for improved forest management to protect remaining intact rainforest, endangered ecosystems, Indigenous values and carbon stored in forests, combined with support for the forestry sector to phase out destructive logging practices. This will translate into more jobs and less ecosystem damage per cubic metre of wood.
Environmental Law Centre report, Applying Solutions from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements to Vancouver Island, the South Coast: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/ELC-Applying-solutions-from-GBR-2019.pdf
Sierra Club BC aerial photos of clearcuts on Vancouver Island (July 2018): https://www.flickr.com/photos/94279740@N07/sets/72157698359993961
Chief of the T’Sou-ke First Nation
Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner, Sierra Club BC
Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria
Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria
Interviews can be arranged through Sierra Club BC
Backgrounder to the Environmental Law Centre report, July 2019
The University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre (ELC) report Applying Solutions from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements to Vancouver Island, the South Coast, and Beyond summarizes the key principles applied in the Ecosystem-Based Management framework in the Great Bear Rainforest and recommends the minimum conservation level in this region as a starting point elsewhere in B.C. This would ensure a base level of protection and, where necessary, require the restoration of old-growth forests.
The key recommendation of the report is to set aside thirty per cent of old-growth by ecosystem and landscape unit (used for planning purposes) in areas that are ecologically similar to the Great Bear Rainforest (such as Vancouver Island, the South Coast and inland temperate rainforests). In those parts of the province where trees typically don’t grow as old as in temperate rainforests, the thirty per cent target should be applied to those forests that are least damaged from industrial logging and have the highest value for biodiversity.
The NDP’s 2017 election platform included a commitment to act for old-growth, promising to take “an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.” The amendment process for B.C.’s forestry law gives the B.C. government a generational opportunity to apply a key element of the Great Bear Rainforest solution across the province.
The 6.4 million hectare Great Bear Rainforest is the only major region in B.C. that has science-based conservation thresholds for old-growth forests. About eighty-five per cent of the forest in the region is set aside in a combination of protected areas and stringent logging regulation.
The Ecosystem-Based Management framework aims to ensure seventy per cent of the natural amount of old-growth forest of every type of forest is set aside from logging across the region (a low risk threshold for ecological integrity). Additionally, the framework calls for a minimum of thirty per cent of the forest set aside at the landscape level (the high risk threshold for ecological integrity) to maintain connectivity.
In contrast, across the vast majority of the province, old-growth forests and intact forest landscapes undisturbed by industrial activity have been reduced dramatically. In high productivity forest ecosystems like valley bottom rainforests with very big trees, remaining old-growth is less than ten per cent of its original extent, and an even smaller amount is formally protected.
On Vancouver Island, only about a fifth of the original productive old-growth rainforest remains unlogged. More than thirty per cent of what remained standing in 1993 has been destroyed in just the last twenty-five years (684,000 hectares or thirty-one per cent in 1993 and 469,000 hectares or twenty-one per cent in 2018).
B.C.’s temperate rainforests represent the largest remaining tracts of a globally rare ecosystem covering just half a per cent of the planet’s landmass. Yet the current rate of old-growth logging on Vancouver Island alone is more than three square metres per second, or about thirty-four soccer fields per day.
On average, temperate rainforests store more carbon than tropical rainforests, helping to slow down global warming. When left intact, they are relatively resilient and less vulnerable to climate impacts such as fire and insect outbreaks compared to other forests.
Globally, the loss of primary forests—forests that are largely undisturbed by human activity—is a threat to species, carbon storage, clean air and clean water. In some countries, this is mainly due to deforestation. In other countries such as Canada, this is mainly through the cutting and replacement of rich ancient forests with even-aged young forest.