FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 9, 2021
Sierra Club BC Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner Jens Wieting offers the following statement in response to today’s deferral announcements.
“Hearing first from the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations and now from the province that old-growth logging will be deferred for two years in the Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek watershed and the Central Walbran gives us a glimpse of hope for two small but highly endangered old-growth forest areas on Vancouver Island.
“But studying the maps shared today by the B.C. government is a sobering experience and shows a consistent pattern: Minimize conservation, even temporary deferrals, to the absolute minimum; defend timber access as much as possible.
“Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek is a dramatic example for this pattern, with hundreds of hectares of intact contiguous old-growth adjacent to the watershed left out of the deferral area. The province even insisted on creating a Zone B to allow for some degree of logging in the watershed.
“The BC NDP government shows great creativity to defend business as usual and almost none when it comes to enabling communities and First Nations to protect the last old-growth forests.
“At the current pace, the B.C. government will not be able to win the race to save what’s left and restore what’s damaged for future generations. The April 2020 old-growth panel recommendations included one indispensable step that came with an expiry date – defer logging in all at-risk old-growth forests within six months. Any further delay would be irresponsible.
“In May, after a year of almost no action to protect at-risk forests, a group of independent experts shared a map with the province that used criteria from the old-growth panel report to identify the most endangered forests that need immediate deferrals from logging. Their maps show 1.3 million hectares of forests that need interim protection, 2.6 percent of all forests in B.C.
“Today’s deferral announcement for Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek and Central Walbran adds up to 2,000 hectares or 0.15 percent of the forests that need interim protection. Almost all at-risk forests across the province remain open for logging, including thousands of hectares on Southern Vancouver Island.”
For more information about the deferral map developed by independent experts go here: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/new-map-of-at-risk-old-growth-forests-in-bc-is-a-first-step/
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
firstname.lastname@example.org, (604) 354-5312
Photo by TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance