VICTORIA, B.C. - Today, the B.C. government released the long-anticipated report on old growth management in B.C., A New Future for Old Forests. The B.C. Green Caucus has issued the following statement:
"The deferral of old growth logging in these nine areas gives us some breathing room in critical places. However, the panel recommended immediate deferrals in ecosystems at high risk of biodiversity loss, which encompasses much more of B.C.
"This is our last chance to protect what remains of our ancient forests in B.C. These deferrals are an important first step, but it is simply not enough to defer logging in a few select areas, while continuing the status quo of talk and log across much of B.C. while government works on a strategy.
"Our forests need urgent action and the B.C. Green Caucus calls upon government to implement all of the recommendations of the Panel's report, with full funding to support implementation. All work from this point on needs to be done in full partnership with First Nations, and under the framework of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIPA).
"We can develop a sustainable, second-growth sector in B.C. - one that is resilient to climate change and forest fires and that can provide meaningful, rewarding employment to local communities and First Nations. To do this, government must implement conservation financing and support communities to develop viable economic strategies to diversify away from old growth logging.
"As the panel recommends, we need a fundamental transformation in our approach to forestry. We must shift our management regime away from an exclusive focus on timber supply to the detriment of all other values, and towards sustainable management of our forests for all the values they hold.
"Over the past number of decades we have seen the loss of tens of thousands of forestry jobs, as well as the continued liquidation of some of our most pristine, highly productive old forests. We urgently need a plan to transition forestry workers and communities dependent on this non-renewable resource.
"It is thanks to the relentless work of indigenous leaders, advocates, and concerned British Columbians that the panel's report has been released and these initial steps taken. Alongside their efforts, the B.C. Green Caucus will continue to hold government to account on old growth protection as we have done since the creation of the Caucus in 2017. Now is the time to redouble the pressure, to hold the B.C. NDP to account on full implementation of this report and permanent protections for our ancient forests."
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | firstname.lastname@example.org