The province has announced plans to protect 54 old-growth trees and while it’s nice that these trees will be protected, it falls far short of lasting protections of old-growth ecosystems.
On Vancouver Island, 79 per cent of the original productive old-growth forests have been logged, including 90 percent of valley bottoms where the biggest trees grow.
Cowichan Valley Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau said protecting an arbitrary number of trees won’t make a significant difference.
“It’s going to take the protection of a lot of land if we’re going to combat climate change,” said Furstenau. “More and more, it’s coming clear that one of the most effective responses to climate change is to keep the ecological systems intact, particularly old-growth forests, as they absorb a great deal of carbon, but they also preserve a great deal of diverse life.”
Furstenau said given the day and age we’re in, bold moves are required, not the protections of an arbitrary number of trees.
“I think at some point, given the situation and the context that we’re in (in the climate crisis), it will require the government to take bolder steps and to recognize that inaction or status quo isn’t really going to be sufficient to address what we need to be doing in a crisis like this.”
The province has been promising an old-growth strategy since coming into power and that strategy is yet to materialize.
Now the government is waiting for a panel report in the spring of next year.
Furstenau said old-growth trees are not a renewable resource and instead of logging until the last ancient trees are gone, we should proactively support forestry communities, as they transition into sustainable, second-growth logging.