Protect the endangered old-growth forests of British Columbia and ensure sustainable forestry jobs in the province
 
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Diverse Crowd of 500 Environmentalists, First Nations, Forestry Workers and Business Owners call for Political Leadership to Protect Old-Growth Forests and Ensure Sustainable Forestry Jobs

Media Release, March 17, 2013

Diverse Crowd of 500 Environmentalists, First Nations, Forestry Workers and Business Owners call for Political Leadership to Protect Old-Growth Forests and Ensure Sustainable Forestry Jobs
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Rally for Ancient Forests and BC Jobs at the Victoria Legislature March 16, 2013.
TJ Watt

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2013

About 500 people in a diverse crowd of conservationists, forestry workers, First Nations, business owners, and union members showed up today in the heavy rain in Victoria for a rally organized by the Ancient Forest Alliance. Despite the morning downpour, spirits were high, and the clouds parted as the protesters marched their way towards the BC Legislative buildings from Centennial Square.

The Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on the BC Liberal government and the NDP opposition commit to a Provincial Old-Growth Plan that will protect BC’s endangered old-growth forests and ensure sustainable, value-added second-growth forestry jobs – and finally bring an end to BC’s “War in the Woods”.

Over 3700 people have sent messages so far to the BC Liberal government and NDP Opposition to protect old-growth forests and ensure sustainable second-growth forestry through the organization’s website: www.BCForestMovement.com

“With an election coming up, now is the time for BC’s politicians to commit to protecting our endangered old-growth forests, to ensure sustainable second-growth forestry, to end the export of raw logs to foreign mills, and to implement First Nations land use plans,” stated Ken Wu, the AFA’s executive director. “The status quo of liquidating the biggest, best old-growth stands and exporting massive amounts of raw logs abroad is destroying ecosystems, jobs, and communities. Now, of all times, BC’s politicians must develop some wisdom, foresight, and a backbone for a sustainable forestry overhaul in this province. No politician or party will escape scrutiny on their forestry agenda this electoral season, we’ll see to that.”

Speakers included:

· Robert Morales – Chief Treaty Negotiator, Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group

· Joe Martin – Tla-o-qui-aht canoe carver, Band Councillor, original Meares Island protest organizer

· Gisele Martin – Tla-o-qui-aht business operator and cultural educator

· Jon Cash – Vice-President, Chamber of Commerce of Port Renfrew

· Arnold Bercov – President, Pulp, Paper, and Woodworkers of Canada (PPWC) union – Local 8

· Eric Hamilton-Smith – Campaigns Officer, BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU)

· Ken James – President, Youbou TimberLess Society

· Valerie Langer –BC Forest Campaign Director, ForestEthics

· Jens Wieting – Coastal Forest Campaigner, Sierra Club of BC

· Vicky Husband – BC Conservationist, Order of BC and Canada recipient

· TJ Watt – Forest Campaigner, Ancient Forest Alliance

· Ken Wu – Executive Director, Ancient Forest Alliance

The continued support of the BC governments for the status quo of unsustainable resource depletion and raw log exports has caused the increasing collapse of native ecosystems and rural communities. On Vancouver Island, 75% its original ancient forests have already been logged, including 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. BC’s old-growth forests are vital to support endangered species, tourism, the climate, clean water, wild salmon, and many First Nations cultures.

The Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on BC’s politicians to commit to:

- A provincial Old-Growth Strategy that will protect the province’s endangered old-growth forests.
- Ensure the sustainable logging of second-growth forests, which now constitute most of BC’s productive forest lands.
- End the export of raw logs to foreign mills.
- Support the retooling of coastal old-growth mills and the development of value-added wood processing facilities to handle second-growth logs.

BC’s old-growth forests are vital to support endangered species, tourism, the climate, clean water, wild salmon, and many First Nations cultures. On Vancouver Island, satellite photos show that about 75% of the original, productive old-growth forests have already been logged, including 90% of the valley-bottom ancient forests where the largest trees grow and most biodiversity resides. Only about 10% of Vancouver Island’s original, productive old-growth forests are protected in parks and Old-Growth Management Areas (OGMA’s). See: www.ancientforestalliance.org/old-growth-maps.php

So far the BC Liberal government has been defending continued, large-scale old-growth logging and raw log exports in the province, often citing highly misleading statistics to convey the false message that old-growth forests are not endangered.

The NDP opposition has so far stayed silent on a previous commitment by leader Adrian Dix in 2011 during his 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” if elected. See: http://conservationvoters.ca/past-endorsements/leadership-race-2011/ndp-candidates/adrian-dix

See spectacular old-growth forest photos athttp://www.ancientforestalliance.org/galleries.php
and videos athttp://www.ancientforestalliance.org/videos.php
and maps athttp:// http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/old-growth-maps.php


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