B.C. forms independent panel to offer ‘science-based approach’ to old-growth management

B.C. forms independent panel to offer 'science-based approach' to old-growth management

The B.C. government has brought together an independent Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel in order to support its next steps in a science-based approach to transforming old-growth management.

According to the government, a panel of five members has been brought together in order to provide maps, analysis and detailed information on the status of old growth forest ecosystems in B.C.

The work that the panel will be doing is described by the Province as “critical to improving public information on old growth government-to-government decisions with First Nations on future deferral areas.

“This new technical panel will ensure we’re using the best science and data available to identify at-risk old-growth ecosystems and prioritize areas for deferral,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We are committed to a science-based approach to old growth management, and our work with the advisory panel will help us break down barriers between the different interpretations of data that are out there.”

Decisions on specific deferrals will continue to be made at a government-to-government level with First Nations rights and titleholders.

“I am hopeful that this step marks a movement towards increased transparency and towards the promised paradigm shift needed to maintain ecological resilience and biodiversity,” said Karen Price, forest ecologist and Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel member.

To date, the government says that 11 areas of old growth forests throughout B.C. have been deferred from harvest, most recently in the Fairy Creek watershed and central Walbran area.

“Old growth forests provide unique and critical habitats that preserve biodiversity, support clean watersheds and capture carbon crucial to reducing our province’s climate footprint,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “This panel’s work will be a key element in transforming forestry and conservation practices here in B.C. by drawing on science to ensure that the important range of old growth forest values is protected for generations to come.”

To view the Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel terms of reference, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Old_Growth_Adv_%20Tech_Panel_TermsOfReference.pdf

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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