Two paths to protecting our forests

We recently took a group of 25 people on a guided walk of a new trail in an old forest. A few days later, a different group of people gathered in a community hall to talk about the problems and think about solutions for the growing conflicts of logging forests in our watersheds, near our communities and in sensitive wildlife habitat.

These two very different groups share the same concerns. I took part in both events, and the common ground of these two gatherings was a concern for our forest health, a recognition of the importance of mature and old growth forests for our health and safety, and an urgency to take steps to protect them.

You can help by signing our petition to let the BC government know they need to do more to protect old growth forests.

Forests need diversity to thrive. Old growth forests that nurture young trees, mature trees and old trees are more resilient and biodiverse. They withstand fire, winds, storms–everything humans and Mother Nature throw at them–far better than even-aged plantations of replanted trees. Withstanding fire and other calamities protects our air, our water and our communities.

These healthy forests filter the water we drink and stabilize the land in our watersheds, protecting our communities from floods and landslides. On public and private land, healthy old growth forests reflect our community’s health.

Diverse forests also create better habitat for many, many birds, animals and insects.

Mature and old growth trees are crucial in our battle against climate change. Old growth forests are carbon sinks, meaning they absorb and hold carbon dioxide. They are natural reservoirs, and they help maintain Earth’s carbon balance in ways young forests do not.

The West Kootenays are located in the inland temperate rainforest, a globally rare forest landscape that has old growth stands of cedar, hemlock, pine, fir and spruce. These forests support people, communities, jobs, plants and animals. 

The amount of protected old forest is a fraction of the area legally required for old growth protection. In the West Kootenay, only 17.5% of forests within Old Growth Management Areas are actually old, while some of the best remaining pockets of old forest are not protected and continue to be logged.

BC’s current forest policy and regulations are insufficient to maintain healthy, sustainable forested ecosystems, particularly in the face of climate change and the need to manage for ecosystem resilience.

Sierra Club released the results of a poll this week that show that 92% of BC residents support taking action to defend endangered old growth forests.

We need a moratorium on logging old growth forests now!

Will you sign our petition today calling for a moratorium on logging old growth forests?