The province is taking a new, holistic approach as a first step for the benefit of its old-growth forests.
This will include the protection of nine areas throughout the province, totalling almost 353,000 hectares.
In a break from the divisive practices of the past, the government plans to engage the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations, labour, industry and environmental groups to work together in conserving biodiversity while supporting jobs and communities, especially on the coast and Vancouver Island.
The actions government is taking are informed by the independent panel report, A New Future for Old Forests.
“For many years, there has been a patchwork approach to how old-growth forests are managed in our province, and this has caused a loss of biodiversity. We need to do better and find a path forward that preserves old-growth forests, while supporting forest workers,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“Those who are calling for the status quo to remain are risking crucial biodiversity loss, while those who are calling for immediate moratoriums on logging are ignoring the needs of tens of thousands of workers. Our government believes in supporting workers, while addressing the needs of old-growth forests, and these values will guide our new approach.”
Initial actions government is taking in formulating an old-growth strategy include:
- engaging the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations to review the report and work with the Province on any subsequent policy or strategy development and implementation;
- deferring old forest harvesting in nine areas throughout the province totalling 352,739 hectares as a first step, and committing to engaging, initiating or continuing discussions with Indigenous leaders;
- beginning work to address information gaps, update inventory and improve public access to information, and bring the management of old forests into compliance with existing provincial targets and guidelines; and
- involving industry, environmental groups, community-based organizations and local governments in discussions regarding the report recommendations and the future of old-growth forests in B.C., and the social, economic and environmental implications for communities.
The province says further work is also underway to protect up to 1,500 exceptionally large, individual trees under the Special Tree Protection Regulation.
This builds on the government’s announcement in 2019 that it would develop a permanent approach to protecting big, iconic trees.
To learn more about British Columbia’s commitment to forest stewardship is available at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources