Tag: Enviro: Ancient Forests

Eulogy for Ancient Trees

Demand the BC government meet its promise to implement a new approach to forest management

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Above: Before and after the clearcut in the Caycuse watershed. The clearcut is part of a cutblock located in Tree Farm Licence 46, held by the Teal-Jones Group.
Photo Credit: All photos in this story are by TJ Watt

In May 2019, Andrea Inness from the Ancient Forest Alliance spoke at the First Sunday Forum. She talked about the critical importance of legislation to protect BC’s remaining ancient forests.

The Enviro Team followed up with a letter writing campaign urging the BC Forests Minister to work with First Nations to implement a science-based Old-Growth Protection Act.

Nearly two years later, we bring an update from the frontlines of BC’s ancient forests.

  1. In July 2019, the BC government appointed a two-person panel to lead an Old Growth Strategic Review.
  2. In November 2019 and April, 2020, photographer TJ Watt visited the Caycuse watershed near Cowichan Lake, in Ditidaht territory, to document the loss of a grove of ancient red cedars to clearcut logging.
  3. On Sept 11, 2020, the BC government announced a “new approach” to ancient forests and stated it would defer old-growth harvesting in “nine areas of the province totaling 352,739 hectares as a first step.”
  4. On March 11, 2021, three environmental NGOs issued a progress report stating, to date, the government has only deferred about 3,800 hectares — less than 1% of the most at-risk old-growth forests.
  5. Meanwhile, Teal-Jones Group is seeking a court injunction to end the seven-month blockade by activists in the Fairy Creek watershed on traditional Pacheedaht territory. Fairy Creek is one of the last intact old-growth valleys on southern Vancouver Island.

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Above: Before and after the clearcut in the Caycuse watershed

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Protect Old Growth Forests – Letter Writing Materials

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.

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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.

Sample Letter to Minister Donaldson