VICTORIA – The British Columbia government says it’s expanding the logging deferral of old-growth forests to 2.1 million hectares, while bringing in new innovations to better care for forests.
Premier David Eby said Wednesday the latest deferral shows logging of the ancient trees is now at the lowest level on government record.
Eby said during a news conference that his government is working with First Nations across B.C. to pause logging on millions of hectares of old growth.
“That’s an area equal to more than 4,000 Stanley Parks. These are areas that were left vulnerable by the previous government and we’re seeing real results on the ground.”
He said the government is introducing a $25-million, eight-point forest planning table that aims to improve old-growth management by incorporating local knowledge and community priorities.
“I want to make sure these majestic trees are there for my kids and their kids, and the environment,” said Eby.
Last May, the Ministry of Forests announced an Old-Growth Strategic Review and reported logging deferrals on about 1.7 million hectares, including more than one million hectares of trees most at risk of irreversible loss.
“We need to change our entire way of thinking,” said Garry Merkel, one of the authors of the Old Growth Strategic Review. “I am personally optimistic that this time we’re actually going to make this thing stick.”
In expanding that review, the government announced it would be implementing alternatives to clearcut logging, such as selective harvesting techniques, and it will be repealing outdated wording in law that prioritizes timber supply over issues like water quality and wildlife habitat.
Eby said the government is also doubling the new BC Manufacturing Jobs fund to $180 million to help mills provincewide process smaller trees and produce high-value wood products.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2023.
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