Old-growth logging in the Caycuse region | Photo courtesy of the Anciet Forest Alliance
BC forest march: Tell Premier Horgan to implement Old-Growth Review Panel advice
About 100 people from Campbell River and Courtenay joined a province-wide
Forest March BC day of action on March 19 to call on Premier Horgan to honour his commitment to fully implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Review Panel.
The Review Panel found that since BC has allowed 97 percent of BC’s ancient forests to be logged, we are reaching a wide spread biodiversity crisis and we must make a fundamental change in the way we manage forests. The panel said it should be a prime mandate to protect ecosystems and to shift to sustainable second-growth forestry management with support for affected forestry workers.
Under the heading, “Immediate Response”, the Review Panel recommended that within six months, or “until a new strategy is implemented, defer development in old forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss.”
But the six months have passed and BC Forestry Minister Conroy say the province has to keep logging Old Growth while the government puts management plans in place.
“It’s now or never” for old-growth forests
“But the whole point of the Panel’s recommendation to halt Old Growth logging was so there would be something left to protect under the new management plans,” Gillian Anderson told Decafnation. Anderson is the spokesperson for the Forest March organizing group.
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has also called on the province to immediately defer logging in all threatened Old Growth forests and to implement all Panel recommendations.
But, despite these actions, the province has scheduled logging of Fairy Creek, the last unprotected watershed valley in southern Vancouver Island, and defenders who have endured months of winter on a blockade there now face possible arrest
The Review Panel also called for support for forest workers and Indigenous communities as they adapt from Old Growth logging to a sustainable second-growth forestry industry.
“The government is only just now working on these transition plans, yet John Horgan has had four years to put such recommended management plans into place after his pledge in 2017 to bring in sustainable forestry management,” Anderson said. “Instead he went on to log a million acres of old-growth forests even as BC lost six forestry jobs a day.”
Anderson added that Forest Minister Conroy’s much-vaunted ‘deferment’ of logging in 353,000 hectares turned out to be under closer scrutiny only 3800 hectares of actual at-risk Old Growth.
“Premier Horgan wants the credit for creating an Old Growth Review Panel and the credit for promising to abide by its recommendations – even as he continues to allow logging of the remnants of this once mighty ecosystem against the Panel’s specific and urgent recommendation,” she said.
Virtually none of the recommended funding has been dedicated for the transition to sustainable, second-growth forestry or for conservation set-asides.
Meanwhile, BC taxpayers continue to subsidize the forestry industry (cutting publicly owned trees including old growth) by $365 million annually, according to the Forest March BC Rally team. They say Old Growth forests are worth more standing than a one-time stumpage fee, as they support sustainable economic, cultural and recreational opportunities including fisheries, tourism, carbon offset projects and non-timber forest products.
Friday’s rally participants urged people to call the premier’s office to implement the Old Growth Review Panel recommendations for the immediate moratorium on Old Growth logging (250-387-1715 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
“With so little of B.C. iconic Ancient Forests left, it’s truly now or never,” Anderson said.
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I missed this article when it was published, somehow. The calls to halt old-growth logging until the BC NDP actually implement the recommendations from the Old-Growth Strategic Review Panel continue strong from the Comox Valley. You can join the Facebook group Save Our Forests Team (https://www.facebook.com/groups/278253993797120) to be kept apprised of efforts in the Valley.
Every logger and every sawmill that depends on old growth for their supply of wood fiber does not have a future. Today we have a workforce and machinery that could eliminate all of BC’s old growth trees in less than a decade. Then What?
The critical old growth trees are in the valley bottoms and part way up the valley sides. These are the trees that shade and protect our salmon spawning streams. These are the trees that enable our watersheads to provide our small towns with their domestic water. What will the loggers drink and how will the sawmills operate without supplies of clean water? Will Teal Jones, Mosaic and other logging companies help pay for Port Renfrew’s, Bamfield’s, Zeballos’s, Cumberland’s, Comox’s and dozens of other Vancouver Island’s communities water systems when the denuded hillsides have their tiny amounts of soil wash down during the rapid snow melts?
Teal Jones is concerned about the cost of delays… In court documents, the company estimates the inaccessible lumber is worth about $10 million.
In its application, Teal Cedar estimated the end product value of the inaccessible timber is approximately $20 million.
The poet asks;
“What kind of currency grows on these brand new floodplains?”
families need employment to house themselves to feed and educate their children,
to contribute to the community through societal activities and charitable donations .
children need recreational activities so we support businesses like music events and sporting goods stores.
our recreational vehicles, SUVs , quads, snowmobiles , power boats and tropical holidays gets us into nature
these things support industrial employment and pension plans.
So please get out of the way so we can
“Cut and move on”
Well said, Mel McLachlan!
Mel McLachlan and Megan Ardyche clearly have … an apparent inability to think outside the box if not at all. Regarding their comments, I’m always reminded of Eric Ruguly’s words published in The Globe and Mail (7/28/21) namely: “A burnt planet means no economy would exist to be saved.” So as you ‘Cut and move on” enjoy your next summer’s ‘HEAT DOME(S) and related forest fires. But then there’s always a default being EI.