VANCOUVER — The David Suzuki Foundation fully supports calls on the provincial government to prevent further logging of B.C.’s old-growth forests and immediately implement recommendations from its 2020 Old Growth Strategic Review Panel report.

“Old-growth forests are absolutely central to the natural, cultural and economic fabric of this province,” David Suzuki Foundation director general for Western Canada Jay Ritchlin said. “We’re not opposed to all logging, but the frustration expressed in recent protests and blockades is understandable, given the severity of the crisis and the ongoing regulatory delays while some of the last ancient forests are logged. It’s well past time to stop cutting old-growth and shift to second- and third-growth to support a sustainable forest economy.”

Less than three per cent of B.C.’s forested land is big-tree, old-growth, totalling only 400,000 hectares (just slightly larger than Banff National Park’s forests). Just one per cent of the remaining fraction of old-growth forest (3,800 hectares) is currently off limits to logging.

“The province has converted almost all the old-growth forests into managed second-growth forests, which have only a fraction of the biodiversity values,” the Foundation’s boreal project manager Rachel Plotkin said. “The loss of several-hundred-, even thousand-year-old trees and the role they play in ecosystems is irreversible. Wildlife that depend on old growth for their habitats lose their homes — and often, these species are at risk. Then there’s the lost potential for carbon storage, which is vital as we fight the climate crisis. The province’s management of B.C.’s forests is resulting in a huge loss all around — for people, the planet and, over the long term, the economy.”

The B.C. government released an Old Growth Strategic Review Panel report in September 2020, with recommendations spanning from immediate term (within a few months) to long term (within three years). The David Suzuki Foundation joins other conservation groups calling on the province to implement the report’s 14 recommendations, without further delay. This includes involving Indigenous nations in decision-making and improving transparency when communicating publicly about the state of B.C.’s old growth.

“It’s been clear for a very long time that we need to do a much better job in B.C. of protecting these unique and powerful forests,” Ritchlin said. “We need real, swift action to protect key habitats and biodiversity throughout the province.”

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