Ancient Forest Alliance renews call for provincial funds to defer old-growth logging

Ancient Forest Alliance renews call for provincial funds to defer old-growth logging

The Ancient Forest Alliance is renewing its call on the B.C. government to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to protect old-growth forests.

The latest call for funding comes after conservationists with the group found a clear cut of ancient forest in Quatsino Sound.

They say they were exploring northwest Vancouver Island late last summer when they stumbled across a cut block that left them speechless.

“Yeah, some of the trees that we saw when we were out there had been standing earlier that day. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling to see a tree that’s lived for 500 or maybe even 1000 years can just be gone in a blink of an eye,” said TJ Watt, an AFA photographer and campaigner.

Watt says the logged area was equivalent to about 50 football fields and that hundreds of old-growth red cedars had been cut down, some up to three metres wide.

“Old-growth forests are a non-renewable resource under B.C.’s current system of forestry,” he added.

“You may replant trees, but they’re re-logged every 50 to 60 years, never to become old growth again, so we have one chance and one chance only to protect these endangered ecosystems.”

The AFA has been calling for at least $300 million from the province that could be added to hundreds of millions of dollars of available federal money in the forthcoming Canada Nature Agreement. Watt says roughly $800 million to $1 billion+ is needed to protect old-growth forests in BC.

“The province has committed to creating a conservation financing fund by the end of June but so far has not publicly committed any of their own money towards it. They said they’re going to rely on private and philanthropic donations,” Watts said.

The money would be used for conservation financing and go toward economically sustainable alternatives for communities and First Nations.

“It’s up to the province to use its vast resources to help with reconciliation and to provide economic alternatives for these communities,” he said.

Watt added that the B.C.’s Independent Science Panel recommended big tree forests like this be saved but that it was missed because it was “misclassified as being younger than it really was.”

The full release can be found here.

The Ministry of Forests replied Friday, by saying that it was “committed to using the best science and data available, and collaborating with First Nations, local communities, and forest companies and others to create a stronger, more sustainable forest economy, prioritizing ecosystem health and community resiliency.”

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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