Petition to Protect British Columbia's
Endangered Old-Growth Forests and Forestry Jobs
Old-growth forests are important because they:
- Sustain wildlife, including species at risk that can't flourish in younger forests.
- Store vast quantities of atmospheric carbon. Coastal old-growth forests store twice or more carbon per hectare than the ensuing second-growth tree plantations that they are replaced with.
- Provide clean water for people, salmon, trout, and wildlife.
- Act as fundamental pillars of BC's multi-billion dollar tourism industry.
- Are important parts of many First Nations cultures.
Forestry jobs in BC are on the decline in large part due to:
- Resource depletion. The 'high-grade' over-cutting of the biggest, best old-growth trees in the valley bottoms and lower elevations has resulted in diminishing returns as old-growth stands become increasingly expensive to access and as the trees decline in size and value.
- Failure to retool old-growth sawmills to handle second-growth logs, and to develop value-added wood industries.
- The massive export of BC raw logs to foreign mills. A lack of investment in coastal mills, particularly in second-growth sawmills, has contributed to the massive export of raw logs.
- Deregulation of coastal forest lands, resulting in the conversion of forests into residential developments and an increase in raw log exports.
Therefore we, the undersigned, are calling on the BC government to:
- Undertake a Provincial Old-Growth Strategy that will inventory and protect the remaining old-growth forests in regions where they are scarce (eg's. Vancouver Island, Southern Mainland Coast, Southern Interior, etc.)
- Ensure the sustainable logging of second-growth forests, which now constitute the majority of forest lands in southern BC.
- End the export of BC raw logs to foreign mills in order to ensure a guaranteed log supply for BC wood processing facilities.
- Assist in the retooling of coastal BC sawmills and the development of value-added facilities to handle second-growth logs.
- Undertake new land-use planning processes to protect endangered forests based on new First Nations land-use plans, ecosystem-based scientific assessments, and climate mitigation strategies through forest protection.
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