We need to take back control of our forests from major corporations and ensure forestry meets the needs of local communities, both economically and ecologically. Our forests are a public resource that belongs to the people of BC, and we need to start managing them this way. This means reinstating government authority in decision-making, undertaking major tenure reform, and enhancing scientific capacity in FLNRO.
Despite promises to do things differently, the NDP has not changed the status quo of forestry management in this province. Over the last 3.5 years, the cutting of old growth has continued at the same speed it did under the BC Liberals, and they have failed to make any meaningful reforms to forestry management, as we’ve continued to see local job losses and unsustainable forestry practices.
We need to start managing our forests holistically, for all the values they hold. Most fundamentally, this means enacting legislation that establishes conservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity of BC’s forests as an overarching priority, with timber supply as just one benefit. This will mean that different planning processes and harvesting methods flow from this fundamental shift in how we manage our forests.
We can’t continue to extract our natural resources for the benefit of shareholders of massive corporations, while local jobs are lost in communities across BC as mills close. Instead we need to generate far more jobs and revenue from what we harvest. There are tools the government can use to make this happen, from ensuring that small producers have access to fibre, incentivizing value-added wood products and non-traditional uses of wood fibre, and revenue-sharing with First Nations, municipalities and regional districts.
Finally, we need to recognize the crucial importance of our forests to biodiversity and protect our remaining old-growth forests forever. This means fully implementing the recommendations of the old growth review panel in partnership with First Nations and an immediate end to the logging of old-growth forests in high risk ecosystems across the province, with the funding needed to back this up and create new opportunities for communities. We can’t afford four more years of talk, “consultations” and little action. We need to move now to protect what we have left.
The BC Greens' plan for Forestry
Our forests are a public resource that belongs to the people of BC, and we need to start managing them that way. To achieve this goal the BC Greens will:
- Reinstate government authority in decision-making at provincial and local levels, beginning with enhancing the authority of district managers to refuse or amend permits.
- Begin a process of tenure reform to redistribute tenures from a few major companies and grow the proportion of tenures held by first nations and community forests.
- Establish a forester general position, an officer of the legislature who is non-partisan and reports to the House annually.
- Establish a Chief Scientist as a counterpart to the Chief Forester to ensure multiple values are adequately incorporated into timber supply analysis.
- Enhance capacity in FLNRO and establish more community based Ministry of Forests staff, to support the sustainable management of local forest resources and provide well-paying community jobs.
- Shift the management framework through reforming legislation, away from an exclusive focus on timber supply to managing for all the values that our forests hold.
- Adopt a wider variety of logging practices, including selective logging and longer stand rotations.
- Undertake landscape-level ecosystem-based planning, reforestation and restoration in partnership with local communities and First Nations.
- Protect communities from wildfires and flooding through landscape level, ecologically-centred, forest management and fuel treatment projects.
- Restore government capacity to ensure forest stewardship, monitoring and enforcement, and enhance funding for forest inventory research and primary research.
Immediately move to fully implement the recommendations of the old growth review panel in partnership with First Nations. This includes:
- An immediate end to the logging of old-growth forests in high-risk ecosystems across the province.
- Enacting legislation that establishes conservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity of BC’s forests as an overarching priority.
- Establish funding mechanisms to support the preservation of our old growth forests.
- Ensure that small producers have access to fibre and incentivize value-added product innovation, including non-traditional uses of wood fibre including bio fuels, and productive uses of residual fibre.
- Apply the carbon tax to slash-pile burning to reduce carbon emissions from our forestry sector and ensure that we use residual materials.
- Put an end to raw log exports.
- Ensure the benefits of B.C. resource flow to local communities by directly sharing more resource revenues with local First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts.
- Better support forestry workers and communities, including through expanding investments into retraining and support finding new job opportunities.
- Investigate opportunities to diversify milling and secondary manufacturing to better use existing timber.
- Promote more sustainable development of forest resources, including investing in tourism opportunities and low-carbon economies.