An environmental organization is offering cautious support for an announcement by the largest private landowner in British Columbia that will defer logging in 400 square kilometres of old-growth forest for the next 25 years.
Mosaic Forest Management, which oversees the private lands of logging companies TimberWest and Island Timberlands, announced the deferral last week along with intentions to finance the plan through a carbon credit program that is expected to raise several hundred million dollars by 2047.
A statement from the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance says exempting old-growth and older second-growth stands from logging will protect the unique trees that support everything from the climate and endangered species to wild salmon, clean water and tourism.
Ken Wu, executive director of the alliance, says long-term deferrals will buy time to arrange further protection and Mosaic should be commended for its “important step” if the measure “pans out.”
But Wu cautions that private carbon offset agreements between companies are not a conservation substitute for Indigenous protected areas or other publicly protected lands, such as provincial conservancies, parks and ecological reserves.
Mosaic says stands slated for protection cover an area three times the size of Vancouver and are located on parts of Vancouver Island and on Haida Gwaii.