BC must act now to stop old-growth logging on Vancouver Island, says prominent forester

A prominent B.C. professional forester is asking the provincial government to immediately “stop all old-growth logging” on Vancouver Island.

“By every measure, and in every ecosystem, the situation is dire for old-growth on the Island,” Keith Moore writes in a submission to a two-member panel heading an Old Growth Strategic Review for the province.

Moore served as first chair of the Forest Practices Board and has been active in the Forest Stewardship Council. He has also been involved in several land-use planning exercises over the decades, from Clayoqout Sound to the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii. 

"I fundamentally support planning, and I would support engaging in new planning initiatives on Vancouver Island and in other parts of the province,” Moore said in his submission.

"But some decisive action — in terms of halts on all old-growth — has to be a prelude to that planning. Otherwise it is just the same old ‘talk and log’ and the same old perspectives on land-use. We do not have time for that.”

He added: “The situation is reasonably straight forward: we are down to the last few stands; the representation in protected areas is weak; we log about 10,000 hectares a year, most of it by BC Timber Sales, the government’s own corporation; there is virtually no private land logging of old-growth; the benefits of old-growth are diverse and huge.

“If we don’t act now, what remains at the moment will be gone for ever.”

While Moore prefers a “permanent and immediate halt” to old-growth logging, the government might also consider an immediate 10-year moratorium for more detailed study. “However, some kind of transitional phase-out would be a disaster. The pace of logging would increase in that interim transitional phase and the best sites would go.”

The panel delivered its report on April 30. Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, says he will respond publicly to the findings within six months.

The panel members were Garry Merkel, a professional forester, natural resource expert, and member of the Tahltan Nation, and Al Gorley, a professional forester and also a former chair of the Forest Practices Board.

Here’s a link to the full list of submissions: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/oldgrowth/written-submissions/

(photo: Avatar Grove, Port Renfrew)

— Larry Pynn, May 4, 2020

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