Stand up for breathing clean air and drinking clean water – defend the last old growth

Less than 3% of our forests left in BC have big, old trees in them. These forests are being logged as you read this – thousand year old giants are being cut down to be used as fence posts. Old growth forests have been in the news a lot over the last year. Much has happened, and so much is at risk. We have a great opportunity for change right now. The Province has committed to creating a new management framework for old forests. But this needs to happen BEFORE the last old trees disappear. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

Old forests keep all forests strong and better able to deal with the changing climate which also builds the strength and resilience of our communities. Old growth forests help keep whole forests healthy. They filter the air we breathe and the water we drink. When you step into an old growth forest on a hot day you’ll notice how cool and refreshing it is – they are a refuge for us and also for many rare animals that are found nowhere else in the world – they are rich in biodiversity. They act as a buffer between people and the worst effects of climate change like flooding, drought, landslides and fires. 

Of the 13.2 million hectares of “old growth” left standing in BC the vast majority consists of small trees, including bog forests and subalpine forests. A big obstacle in old growth forest management has been the difference between what the policy makers use to base their decisions on versus what the science shows. Of the 13.2 million hectares the province defines as old growth forests, only 400,000 hectares contains the big ancient trees you and I think of when we envision an old forest. That’s only 3%! This 3% is the most crucial old growth that we need to maintain a healthy future and that supports endangered animals like caribou and spotted owls. This 3% is getting smaller as you read this. This last 3% is still being logged. 

We can still save the last standing old growth. The Province commissioned an Old Growth Strategic Review to inform a new approach to old growth forest management. The resulting report recommended 14 steps the Province needs to take within a three year timeline, including stopping logging immediately in the most at risk areas. 

Keeping our eye on the goal of defending old growth forests has been challenging. In its response to the Strategic Review, the Province announced it would immediately defer logging in 353,000 hectares of old growth forest. Ecologists, analysts, and reporters found some problems:

  • These deferrals are only until August 2022
  • Some areas don’t include big old trees
  • Some areas are near impossible to log, so are not at risk
  • some areas are are already under protection
  • Some areas already had been deferred and also expire in 2 years
  • Almost half of these areas are still allowed to have logging of second growth forests, and roadbuilding which opens up the likely situation of future logging in these old growth forests

The clock is ticking, but it’s still not too late for you to make a difference. If enough people like you and me work together to defend the health of our communities by defending the last standing old growth forest in BC, our elected leaders will have to listen.

Click here to send your letter right now to defend the last remaining old growth forest in BC.

Curious about why biodiversity matters to our health and why logging old growth harms our forests? Click here.


Information in this post was gathered from:

BC’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand for Biodiversity

Old Growth Strategic Review

Ministry of FLNRORD Bulletin