B.C.’s forests ministry has accepted recommendations to defer logging in nine old-growth forest regions of the province. (B.C. government)

B.C. suspends some old-growth logging, consults communities

‘Deferral areas’ total 3,350 square km of forest

The B.C. government’s old-growth forest review has identified nine areas where further logging is delayed for consultation with Indigenous communities in each region.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson released a report by independent experts Sept. 11, saying he plans to put an end to a “patchwork approach” of old forest preservation that has caused a loss of biodiversity.

The nine areas total 3,350 square km, including the Seven Sisters region near Smithers, Incomappleaux Valley, Crystalline Creek and Stockdale Creek watersheds in the Kootenays, the Upper Southgate River that drains to Bute Inlet on the south coast, Skagit-Silverdaisy near the U.S. border and H’Kusam, McKelvie Creek and Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.

“Those who are calling for the status quo to remain are risking crucial biodiversity loss, while those who are calling for immediate moratoriums on logging are ignoring the needs of tens of thousands of workers,” Donaldson said.

B.C.’s definition of old growth is 250 years old in the Coast region, and 140 years old in the Interior. Overall, about 13.7 million hectares or 23 per cent of the total B.C. forest base is considered old growth, and 3.75 million hectares, 27 per cent of the old growth, may be harvested under current protected area rules.

RELATED: Minister rejects moratorium, changing old growth definition

RELATED: Coastal loggers plead for certainty on forest land base

The Coast region, which includes Vancouver Island, the Central Coast area designated as the Great Bear Rainforest timber supply area and Haida Gwaii, has 7.55 million hectares of forest, with 42 per cent old growth. Questioned in the legislature in late July, Donaldson said 33 per cent of the west coast region is protected or reserved.

Vancouver Island forests are 73 per cent Crown land and 27 per cent private, much of it the legacy of colonial Governor James Douglas’ 1850s deal with coal baron James Dunsmuir to trade land for construction of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) Railway.

Donaldson appointed two experts to conduct the “strategic review” in October, with the forest industry struggling with poor economic conditions, the B.C. government’s latest logging restrictions and continued protests calling for a moratorium on old growth logging.

The review was completed in January by Garry Merkel, a professional forester and member of the Tahltan Nation in northwest B.C., and Al Gorley, a professional forester and former chair of the Forest Practices Board that audits logging in B.C.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureforestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Earl Marriott grad adjusting to NCAA life amid COVID-19 restrictions

Jeremiah Mackie joins older brother Jaxon on Gonzaga University cross-country team

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

‘Tacky’ White Rock Pier lights spark criticism

Alternating colours most evenings, lightshow must stop, says resident

Surrey South MLA says premier’s decision to call a snap election is self-serving

‘This is not what anybody needs right now,’ Stephanie Cadieux said

COVID-19 exposures at Surrey schools: An updated list

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Neighbour’s quick actions save dogs and home in Chilliwack townhouse fire

Neighbour heard fire alarm and called 911 and rescued dogs from unit on fire

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Most Read