The authors of the report on old growth protection, Al Gorley, RPF and Garry Merkel, RPF.

The authors of the report on old growth protection, Al Gorley, RPF and Garry Merkel, RPF.

All talk, no action on old growth protection says Wildsight

Recommendations from report submitted a year ago have yet to be followed

“Old forests, especially those with very large trees, are the product of ancient ecosystems, icons of British Columbia’s landscape, and a key aspect of the province’s unique identity. In addition to their intrinsic value, the timber they provide is important to the provincial economy, and a primary source of income in many communities. These same forests anchor ecosystems that are critical to the well-being of many species of plants and animals, including people, now and in the future. The conditions that exist in many of these forests and ecosystems are also simply non-renewable in any reasonable time frame.”

So wrote Al Gorley, RPF and Garry Merkel, RPF, in a strategic review of British Columbia’s management of old growth forests, which was commissioned by the B.C. government. That report, complete with recommendations, was submitted to the provincial government in April 2020.

Since then, says Eddie Petryshen, Conservation Specialist for the East Kootenay-based conservation group Wildsight, there has been lots of talk and little action on actually protecting the forests.

He says the report offered a pathway to protect old growth and transform the way we use, value and view our forests in B.C.

“Premier Horgan and the BC NDP promised to fully implement the report’s recommendations,” Petryshen said in a press release. “But instead of an immediate deferral of critically threatened old growth, our globally unique ancient forests continue to be loaded onto logging trucks.”

One of the key requests in the Merkel/Gorley report was to consider the report’s recommendations as whole rather than piecemeal. They sited an earlier report done in 1992, which also made recommendations around old growth protection.

“Had previous old forest strategies and recommendations been fully implemented, we would likely not be facing the challenges around old growth to the extent we are today, i.e., high risk to loss of biodiversity in many ecosystems, risk to potential economic benefits due to uncertainty and conflict, and widespread lack of confidence in the system of managing forests.”

“In jurisdictions around the world old growth logging has become an archaic practice of the past,” said Petryshen. “Yet here in B.C., we’re logging like there’s an endless supply of old growth.”

Many jurisdictions around the world have moved to protect old growth, he says.

“In the 1990’s the US “Timber Wars” in Oregon, Washington, and California, brought about the Northwest Forest Plan which largely ended the practice of logging ancient giants on public lands. In 2001, the state of Western Australia banned the logging of old growth forests. In 2002, New Zealand banned the logging of its irreplaceable old growth forests on public lands.

“Today, less than three percent of B.C.’s productive old growth forests are left and the majority of these forests are at risk of being logged in the near future.

He notes that while the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs passed a resolution calling on the province to work with First Nations to protect old growth forests, the recent budget did not include any dedicated funding for old growth.

Petryshen acknowledges that last September, Forests Minister Conroy deferred logging in nine old growth areas, but says very few of the forests in these areas were immediately threatened by logging or made up of productive old growth forests.

“John Horgan’s government has to chart a new course. These forests are worth so much more standing than they are logged,” said Petryshen. “Let’s protect these globally unique forests and ensure that we are leaving an old growth legacy for future generations.”

Wildsight is calling on the provincial government to protect old growth immediately, starting with deferring logging in the most at-risk productive old growth forests.

READ: Wildsight and Bruce Kirkby launch Banff Film Fest virtual viewing event

READ: Curb habitat destruction now to protect caribou populations, says new study



carolyn.grant@kimberleybulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The ‘official’ opening of 2nd Edition Coworking in downtown Fernie, a project five years in the making by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce. Left to right: Executive Director of the Fernie Chamber Brad Parsell, incoming President of the Fernie Chamber Norm Fraser, outgoing President of the Fernie Chamber Anita Palmer, and Mayor of Fernie Ange Qualizza. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Fernie Chamber cuts the ribbon on 2nd Edition

The new coworking space in Fernie is now ‘officially’ open, but has been operating since early 2021

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks with the new AED SaveStation installed at the Sparwood Leisure Centre. (Contributed by District of Sparwood)
Sparwood installs public AED

The SaveStation was installed thanks to a grant from CP Rail

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

(File)
“Gift card scam,” and “grandparent scam” are on the rise, Cranbrook RCMP say

Folks are falling for these scams: “No Government agency or reputable company will ever ask anyone to pay with gift cards in lieu of their fines”

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read