Media Release: Today Conservationists call for Action on BC Forests at Legislature Opening
Ancient Forest Alliance, February 12, 2013
For Immediate Release
February 12, 2013
Today Ancient Forest Alliance to Unfurl Giant “Hands Off the Old-Growth” Banner During BC Legislature’s Opening Ceremonies - Calls for Action on BC's Forests from BC Liberals and NDP
Today from 12:45 to 1:30 pm at the BC Legislative Buildings, a group of Ancient Forest Alliance supporters will unfurl a giant 10 meter long banner that reads “Hands Off the Old-Growth” during the opening ceremonies. The BC Legislative Assembly will sit for its last session before a provincial election is held just over three months from now, on May 14, 2013.
The Ancient Forest Alliance (www.AncientForestAlliance.org) is calling on the BC Liberal government and the NDP Opposition to:
Commit to a new Provincial Old-Growth Plan to protect BC’s endangered old-growth forests. Old-growth forests are vital to sustain endangered species, tourism, the climate, clean water, wild salmon, and many First Nations cultures.
To ensure sustainable, value-added forestry in second-growth stands which now constitute the vast majority of the forest lands in southern BC. The BC Liberal government is allowing a massive exodus of raw, unprocessed logs from BC to foreign mills in China, the US, and Japan, allowing the liquidation of BC’s forest resource while doing little to support investment in coastal second-growth mills and value-added facilities.
To halt the BC Liberal government’s sneaky plans to introduce a bill this legislative sitting to allow the expansion of Tree Farm Licences. Expanding Tree Farm Licences would confer increased private property-like rights for logging companies by granting them exclusive access to vast areas of public forest lands. Currently most logging licences are "volume-based" (ie. no specific areas given to companies, only an amount or volume of wood they can cut). See: http://blogs.theprovince.com/2013/01/27/ben-parfitt-sneaky-liberals-are-planning-a-b-c-forest-giveaway/
“During their last three months the BC Liberals can choose a legacy as the government that finally ended BC’s ‘War in the Woods,’ or acted as the ‘Despoilers of Beautiful British Columbia’ until the very end,” stated Ken Wu, executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance. “Either way, we will ensure that they have a legacy, depending on what they do now – commit to protecting our ancient forests and to ending raw log exports, or continue to keep their heads in the sand by insisting that old-growth forests are not endangered and that raw log exports are a necessary evil.”
“For the NDP, they must remember their history in the 1990’s, when they continually battled environmentalists over old-growth forests,” Wu stated. “They need to significantly break from the disastrous status quo and adopt a truly new and courageous vision for a sustainable forest industry. Specifically, they must follow through and develop Adrian Dix’s promise during his 2011 bid to become NDP leader that if elected he would ‘Develop a long term strategy for old growth forests in the province, including protection of specific areas that are facing immediate logging plans’”. (See: http://conservationvoters.ca/past-endorsements/leadership-race-2011/ndp-candidates/adrian-dix)
The Ancient Forest Alliance is planning to significantly ramp-up its grassroots mobilization campaign to inform the public on the stance of the political parties about BC’s old-growth forests and forestry jobs in the months leading up to the May provincial election.
75% of Vancouver Island’s original, productive old-growth forests have already been logged, including 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. Of 2.3 million hectares of productive (ie. moderate to fast growth rates, with large trees) old-growth forests originally on Vancouver Island, 1.7 million hectares have already been logged (ie. about 600,000 hectares remain). See “before and after” maps at: http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/old-growth-maps.php
See spectacular photos of Vancouver Island’s biggest trees and biggest stumps at: http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/galleries.php (Note: Media are free to reprint any photos, credit to “TJ Watt” if possible)
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