Old growth forests are important for environment and economy
In response to UBCM Resolution C-27, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson re-affirmed government’s commitment to Vancouver Island’s old growth forests and stated there was no need to cease logging. The province’s old growth forests, including those on Vancouver Island, are managed for a multitude of resource values. There’s approximately 1.9 million hectares of Crown forest land on Vancouver Island, and over 840,000 hectares of that is considered old-growth. Over half of those old growth forests will never be logged.
The Vancouver Island Land Use Plan designated areas for protection and areas suitable for resource development, including forestry. Over 13% of Vancouver Island’s land base is fully protected from development.
The Province sets aside old growth forest areas in recognition of their biodiversity values, including providing habitat for wildlife. The Province targets protection of old growth forests in each landscape unit. In addition to parks and protected areas, old growth forests are protected through old growth management areas, wildlife habitat areas, ungulate winter ranges.
Some Vancouver Island communities value old growth forests for their tourism values, and in 2012, the Province specifically established an old growth management area for Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew.
Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson –
“The UBCM resolution proves to me that we – the Province, industry, local government – need to improve the conversation and dialogue about forestry and forest management on Vancouver Island. This government recognizes the value of Vancouver Island’s spectacular old growth forests for their important role in biodiversity and has increased their protection accordingly. However, at the same time logging does continue to support many Vancouver Island communities, so government will not consider ending logging opportunities.”
Dallas Smith, president, Nanwakolas Council –
“First Nations understand both the ecological and economic importance of old growth forests. We are disappointed that UBCM passed such a short sighted resolution with no discussion with First Nations. We have worked closely with industry and government to ensure there will always be a sustainable supply of old growth trees now and into the future for use and enjoyment of all British Columbians.”
Hank Bood, mayor, District of Port Hardy –
“Over the past few years, Port Hardy’s economy has become increasingly more diversified. While forestry still supports one in three families, there’s been growth in tourism and aquaculture. We have seen for ourselves in Port Hardy how it doesn’t need to be one against the other – but how all sectors can co-exist.”