Preserve British Columbia's Old-Growth Forests
Join our call to protect one of the most carbon-rich forests on the planet.
Minister Katrine Conroy
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
1006 3rd Street
Castlegar, BC V1N 3X6
Dear Minister Conroy,
It’s astonishing that in this day and age we must demand the protection of hundred, and even thousand year old trees. And yet, in British Columbia, Canada, which houses some of the most carbon rich forests on the planet, they are being logged.
Today, over 74% of the original productive old-growth forests on British Columbia’s southern coast have been logged, including well over 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. The highest productivity areas, with monumental redcedar trees over 11 feet in diameter and with heights in excess of 60 meters tall, are being cut to mere stumps without regard for their immense role in our ecosystems. Sadly, only 415,000 hectares of the highest productivity old-growth forest (forests that support large trees) remain.
We have entered a new era of climate emergency and yet, despite awareness of these horrifying statistics, your government is failing to take adequate action.
Not only has your ministry inaccurately disclosed the amount of large tree old-growth forests remaining, but so too has it failed to prevent extensive logging of these rare and incredibly important ecosystems.
Old-growth forests play a considerable role in managing the threat of climate change and preserving vital biodiversity. In fact, the UNEP recognizes forests as 30% of the solution to the global climate crisis. Old-growth forests must be protected to ensure environmental, animal, and human welfare:
Carbon sequestration - BC’s old-growth forests are some of the most carbon rich forests on the planet, and protecting them is essential for maintaining natural carbon sequestration processes. Preserving the forests will also help to prevent natural disasters precipitated by climate change, such as fires, flooding, and extreme weather.
Biodiversity hotspots - Old-growth forests are not simply trees - they engineer complex ecosystems home to immense biodiversity, including numerous threatened and endangered species such as mountain caribou and marbled murrelet and many others.
Indigenous rights need to be at the forefront of this paradigm shift.
To date, the ministry has not taken appropriate action to implement the critical set of timelined recommendations from B.C.’s Old-Growth Strategic Review Panel - a plan driven by accurate data and thorough consideration for this ecosystem’s survival. You have been provided with the roadmap and recommendations - all that remains is an urgent and effective implementation plan.
Our demands include:
● Activating all necessary provisions to ensure the 14 recommendations made by the Old-Growth Strategic Review Panel are fully implemented within the timeline provided by the panel.
● Mandating an immediate moratorium on harvesting any of the remaining 415,000 hectares of mature, highly productive, forest and further providing protections for all at-risk old-growth areas.
● Funding to support economic alternatives for First Nations and to enable a successful transition as deferrals are put in place.
● Realigning all current and future policies to turn away from managing timber industry interests to prioritizing the immense value of forestry preservation by providing economic investment into alternatives to sustain livelihoods.
Old-growth forests are not renewable. Once these forests are gone, it would take thousands of years to regain their full benefit. The present climate emergency will not hesitate to accelerate in their absence.
Upon stepping into your role, you committed to align British Columbia’s forest policy and land management provisions based on the 14 timelined recommendations made by the old growth review panel. We ask that you use your role to follow through on this, to enact a paradigm shift away from destructive forest practices and towards humanity and our planet’s common interests.
Take action now to save these essential forests.
Photo Credit: TJ Watt
UPDATE: Since the petition launch, the B.C. government has agreed to logging deferrals for only two years for just 2,000 hectares of old-growth forest areas. This still leaves 1.3 million hectares of these precious forests at extreme risk. The current efforts are completely insufficient and must be both extended and expanded immediately.