New map and analysis from independent scientists highlight need for immediate logging deferrals in at-risk old growth forests across British Columbia
May 19, 2021
Map indicates about 2.6 per cent of forested land-base should be immediately off-limits to logging, per old growth panel criteria and NDP election promise.
Unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam Territories (Vancouver, BC) — Stand.earth is renewing its call for British Columbia to implement immediate logging deferrals in at-risk old growth forests after the release of a new map and analysis by independent scientists.
In a release, the BC-based researchers — forester Dave Daust and forest ecologists Dr. Rachel Holt and Dr. Karen Price — published a new map of logging deferral areas in at-risk old growth according to the criteria set out by BC’s Old Growth Strategic Review (OSGR) last year, saying, “In the year since the OSGR report was submitted to the provincial government, these criteria have not been mapped by government as recommended by the panel. Deferrals announced in September 2020 failed to meet the panel’s recommendations and instead left the most rare, at-risk forests open to logging.”
The map and analysis points to about 2.6 per cent of the forested land base across British Columbia as hosting rare, ancient, and the largest or tallest old growth forests remaining in the province, which should be immediately off-limits to logging while the province engages with First Nations on a paradigm shift for forestry.
“With this new map, the province has no reason to stall on issuing logging deferrals in the old growth forests where they are needed most,” said Tegan Hansen, Stand.earth Forest Campaigner. “Old growth forests are at a precipice, and the vast majority of the large, ancient trees that once stood throughout BC have already been logged. Temporary logging bans in these forests will give time and space to develop new management practices rooted in Indigenous rights and consent, ecological values, and community resilience. The province already has the tools to put deferrals in place, and they must act immediately before more old growth forests are lost forever.”
The renewed call for deferrals comes as forest defenders are arrested on Vancouver Island amidst growing tension over the future of old growth forests. Yesterday, RCMP arrested seven people defending forests identified by scientists as requiring immediate logging deferrals.
“Civil disobedience is a last resort, but every day matters and the science is clear that this moment is a last stand for old growth forests,” said Tzeporah Berman, Stand.earth International Programs Director. “Premier Horgan made a promise to BC to chart a new future for forests, and now is the time to reduce tensions by following through with these logging deferrals immediately and retain options for the last old growth forests.”
Stand.earth is calling for Premier Horgan and the B.C. NDP government to meet their election promise to defer logging in at-risk old growth immediately, and work with Indigenous Nations in partnership on new management practices for forests, and for opposition parties to hold the government accountable to its election promise and mandate.
Ziona Eyob, Canadian Communications Manager, email@example.com, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)