Old-growth FAQs

Old-growth FAQs

Only 1% of BC's old-growth forests are remaining. That's only 415,000 hectares out of the 60 million hectares that make up BC's forests. 

Stakeholders and experts are very clear that the NDP government has been inflating the amount of protected old-growth. So how do they do it? Three main ways:

There is currently far more low-productivity, economically “unloggable” old-growth than productive old-growth remaining in southwest BC. Low-productivity old-growth includes stunted trees with slow growth rates that can be found in sub-alpine areas and bogs. Low-productivity old-growth has little to no commercial value and is not endangered, but the government conveniently does not distinguish between these forests and high-productivity old-growth when calculating how much old-growth is protected on the coast.

The government also tends to exclude private lands from their calculations of how much old-growth remains, despite the fact that the provincial government allowed tens of thousands of hectares of old-growth to be logged when those private lands were still under provincial management.

Finally, the government fails to account for the vast amount of productive old-growth forest has been logged since European colonization, instead focusing only on a proportion of what's remaining when describing how much is protected from logging.

All of this data manipulation makes it look like far more old growth exists and is being actively protected than really is, and it is grossly misleading to British Columbians who trust their government to be transparent stewards of this public resource.

It's time for the BC NDP to halt old-growth logging and create the space for solutions. The BC Greens are calling for:

  • Implement immediate interim protections in all remaining high-risk old-growth ecosystems 
  • Work in partnership with First Nations to create alternative economic opportunities
    • Provide conservation financing and funding for Indigenous-led protected areas in this year’s budget
  • Take back tenures (timber harvesting rights) from forestry companies with old-growth tenures 
  • Direct BC's own logging agency, BC Timber Sales, to stop selling off old-growth forests for logging
  • Stop using misleading numbers and terms for how much old-growth is protected and come clean with the public about the state of our ancient forests
  • Release a public implementation and work plan for when government will meet each of the Old-Growth Strategic Review Panel's recommendations

Old-growth forests are a vital part of BC’s economy, history and cultural values. They support a diverse number of species, have immense tourism value, and are an important part of First Nations culture.

The temperate rainforests of BC represent the largest remaining tracts of a globally rare ecosystem covering just 0.5 percent of the planet’s landmass.

Although forests can be a renewable resource if managed correctly, old-growth is not renewable.

It can take 200 to 2,000 years for old-growth forests to regenerate to their current state. Once a forest is logged in BC, it’s usually scheduled to be logged every 30 to 80 years. That means that the old-growth we have now, if logged, will not be given time to become old-growth again. 

Forestry jobs are of critical importance to BC. Last year they accounted for 65,500 jobs. But this number is far less than the amount of jobs forestry once supported. That’s because our forests have not been managed sustainably.

We want high-paying jobs that are not vulnerable to boom-bust economics. Right now there are mills on Vancouver Island that can only process old growth. But old-growth is a finite resource, and most of it is already gone. That means those forestry jobs are at risk.

By investing in mill retrofits we can set up these forestry workers to thrive in the long-term. Plus, if we focus on value-added manufacturing rather than raw-log exports, those jobs will be more reliable and better paying.

It’s also essential that the government provide funding, including conservation financing, to support First Nations and local communities to develop economic alternatives to old-growth logging.

It’s a win-win for British Columbians and the forests we cherish.

There is a more sustainable and efficient way to preserve these critical ecosystems for future generations, supporting good jobs and economic prosperity in a second-growth forestry industry.

Stand with us to save our old-growth forests. Add your name to the list of others who are calling on the government to save our old growth. Or, if you've already signed, make sure to share the petition with your friends.

Share your story. Tell us and others why the forests of BC are important to you! It doesn’t just have to be old growth; not all of us have been lucky enough to wonder under those awesome canopies. But we are all connected to this landscape. Tell us what connects you! Share your pictures and your stories on our website or on Twitter #GreenBCandMe #MyOldGrowthStory

And get involved — look for organizations in your community who are working to protect old-growth.

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