Today’s Poll

Wildsight welcomes government old growth protection commitments, but more promises are poor substitute for action

By Wildsight
May 21st, 2024

Wildsight welcomes the release of the B.C. government’s old growth action plan today, but says that while the document contains promising commitments, more urgent action to protect old growth on the ground is needed.

From Review to Action outlines how the B.C. government will implement all 14 recommendations that came out of 2020’s landmark independent review of how the province manages its forests.

Wildsight commends Victoria’s recent progress on several of those recommendations. This includes collaboratively developing the draft Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Framework with First Nations, and securing over $1 billion for the preservation of B.C.’s wildlife and habitats through the Tripartite Nature Agreement.

But while the government continues to plan and promise, ancient forests are still being destroyed, resulting in the irreversible loss of biodiversity.

“More than half of British Columbia’s most at-risk old growth forests remain open to industry,” says John Bergenske, Wildsight Strategic Advisor.

“The province’s old growth deferral areas have been determined using data that varies in its reliability from region-to-region. In some areas, such as the forests north of Revelstoke, the data tends to underestimate tree age, so large swathes of old and ancient forests have been left out of deferral areas and are being cut down and lost forever as a result,” he says.

“These forests are our natural air and water filters, our wildfire buffers and our carbon stores. They must be protected for future generations, not loaded onto logging trucks.”

Wilsight is also concerned by the government’s apparent lack of urgency to bring the management of old growth forests into compliance with legal targets under Land Use Plans.

“The action plan outlines a goal to complete a province-wide compliance analysis by 2029, but in some regions, like the Columbia Basin, that analysis has already been completed. We shouldn’t be waiting another five years to act on this knowledge,” Bergenske says.

“In the Columbia Basin, for example, we know that upwards of 80% of the areas under Land Use Plans [BEC/LUs] aren’t compliant with existing old growth targets,” Bergenske says.

Alongside fast-tracking action on the ground, Wildsight is also advocating for the government to dramatically reduce annual logging cut rates to levels that our ecosystems can sustain.

“B.C. can’t keep clear cutting forests at the current rate and expect nature to remain resilient,” Bergenske says. “The web of life that supports us all relies on old growth and intact forests. The Old Growth Action Plan needs to drive immediate change to business-as-usual in order to fundamentally transform the way we do things on the ground.”

Wildsight is a registered charity that protects biodiversity and encourages sustainable communities in Canada’s Columbia and Rocky Mountain regions. Wildsight has six local branches, which are separate legal entities. Together, we work locally, regionally and nationally to bring about change.  

Categories: EducationGeneral

Other News Stories