Above: Castle Grove, Walbran Valley / Photo Credit: TJ Watt, Ancient Forest Alliance
Mythical, awe-inspiring, ecologically rich, and endangered – old growth forests are unprotected by legislation! Andrea Inness, a forest campaigner with Ancient Forest Alliance, was the guest speaker for the Environment Team’s forum on May 5th. The Environment Team urges you to write a letter to Minister Donaldson to support strong action to benefit BC’s forests and communities. Sample Letter to Minister Donaldson
Please keep reading to see how you can help protect Old Growth Forests in British Columbia.
B.C.’s old-growth and communities are in crisis. Raw log exports are at a record high and mills are closing. Climate change and massive forest fires are here to stay. But we are still clearcutting our most resilient and carbon rich forests at an alarming rate.
What we are calling for
The science is clear: to sustainably manage coastal rainforests we must stop clearcutting endangered old-growth. B.C. needs a provincial Old-Growth Protection Act using elements of the celebrated Great Bear Rainforest Agreements combined with strong support for First Nations and good long term forestry jobs.
We also need an immediate halt to logging in critical intact old-growth hotspots. This will protect magnificent areas like the Central Walbran that are immediately threatened with destruction.
Taking these steps will help us to:
— Protect globally rare ecosystems, wildlife, water and climate
— Strengthen First Nations’ governance and community well-being
— Transition from old-growth logging to sustainable second-growth forestry
BC’s coastal temperate rainforests are among the rarest ecosystems on the planet, but today only 10% of Vancouver Island’s biggest old-growth trees are left. Because of climate change, these forests will never grow back as we knew them—if we cut them, they’ll be gone forever.
Using logging data and age class information Sierra Club BC estimates the total number of hectares of old-growth logged on Vancouver Island at about 1,708,000 hectares (without including original forests lost to deforestation, e.g. urban areas). More than 10,000 hectares of old-growth got logged in the last 12 months alone, equivalent to more than 3 square meters per second. Today, the vast majority of the remaining old-growth on the Island belongs to ecosystems with smaller trees not targeted for logging (for example along the outer coast or in higher elevations). Only about 10 percent of the biggest trees remain standing. For more information, check out our backgrounder.
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.” But so far the BC government has not yet taken any meaningful steps to protect endangered coastal and inland oldgrowth ecosystems outside the Great Bear Rainforest.
Please tell Forests Minister Doug Donaldson you support strong action to benefit BC’s forests and communities. Please refer to sample letter below for ideas.