The Government of British Columbia’s Old Growth Protection Plan recommends a two-year postponement of hundreds of areas that Forestry Minister Katrine Conroy describes as “the largest, rarest and oldest old growth forests. Of the province, covering 26,000 square kilometers across the province.
But what is actually protected depends on discussions with indigenous land rights holders and may result in limited logging as landscape plans are developed. Conroy says some First Nations have already identified significant areas in their traditional territories that have already been deferred, and others are “very interested in deferring” as plans are developed.
In areas where logging permits are identified as sites at high risk of ecosystem loss, permit holders are encouraged to voluntarily postpone harvesting, and ministerial orders can be used to revoke permits and prevent harvesting. new issue.
The province is targeting a new old-growth strategy for 2023 with landscape management plans to replace the timber harvesting model that has been used for a century on British Columbia’s crown forest lands. Work to update the province’s inventory of tall trees, ancient and rare forests, with all rare and ancient areas identified whose carry forward was recommended by a panel of experts chaired by Forester Garry Merkel.
“During the carry-over, one of the things we’re going to do is talk to the indigenous nations about their wants, wants and needs for the traditional territory on which the forest is located and talk, are we considering a full carry-over? Conroy said when unveiling the plan on Nov. 2. “Is this a selected harvest? Is he looking to work with them on an integrated landscape management plan? Going forward, that’s what we’ll do with the nations over that two-year period to see which direction we’re headed. “
The ministry estimates that if all carryover areas were protected, it would result in the loss of 4,500 jobs in the forestry industry. Conroy says a retraining and early retirement program is in the works, but industry representatives say the impact could be much greater.
“We recognize that British Columbians are passionate about protecting old growth forests at risk and we share that passion, but there were many viable options for finding a balance that most people in our province could support,” said Bob Brash, Executive Director of Truck Association of Loggers. “The current old-growth forest harvest is only a fraction of the current 11.4 million hectares of old-growth forest, over 75% of which is already protected or outside the timber harvesting land base. “
The Huu-ay-aht First Nations on Vancouver Island are among those currently in planning, with postponements announced in June as protesters continued to disrupt logging on their land.
“We will take the time we need to get it right,” Huu-ay-aht First Nations Chief Advisor Robert Dennis Sr. and Hereditary Chief Derek Peters said in a letter released Nov. 2. a position to decide by January 15, 2022, if there will be further carry-overs of old-growth forests over the next two years in our traditional territory.
Legislative Assembly of British Columbia Policy of British Columbia Forest