The Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) is a registered charitable organization in British Columbia, Canada, founded in February 2010 by Ken Wu and TJ Watt. It has quickly grown into the main organization in BC working towards province-wide legislation to end the logging of endangered old-growth forests.

The AFA has garnered attention for its campaigns in the provincial, national, and international news media. Tens of thousands of British Columbians have been mobilized to speak up to elected decision-makers, and the AFA has fostered broad-based support for ancient forest protection among First Nations bands, forestry workers, unions, tourism and green businesses, key politicians, the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce, and other diverse partners.

The AFA’s work with non-traditional allies, including the business community, has revolutionized the ancient forest movement in BC. This major expansion of voices for saving ancient forests has been fundamentally driven by the AFA’s work to diversify and expand the old-growth conservation movement beyond its environmentalist base. A standout success of this work has been AFA’s collaboration with the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce to successfully protect Avatar Grove in 2012, subsequently building a boardwalk there and promoting a major eco-tourism economy based on big trees and old-growth forests.

The AFA has played a vital role throughout its existence in helping to bring ancient forests onto the political agenda. This includes successfully engaging the Green Party of BC to support the end of logging endangered old-growth forests, and exerting enormous pressure on both the BC Liberal and NDP governments to transform their forest policies, helping to ensure forest protection while halting some of their most destructive proposals. Some of these areas where logging has been halted are in high conservation ancient forests such as Castle Grove of the Upper Walbran Valley and multiple other locations across Vancouver Island.

Most importantly, the AFA has been working to engage and support First Nations communities regarding their concerns with unsustainable forestry activities in their unceded territories and is currently working on developing sustainable economic development support for these communities as an alternative to old-growth logging.


  • 2023

    In a landmark announcement, the BC government invests $180 million in support for value-added wood manufacturing to help the forest industry adapt to old-growth protection measures and use of smaller diameter trees while maintaining employment in the industry. It also announces the removal of the “unduly restrict” clause — a piece of legislation that historically limited the scope of conservation efforts by preventing forest reserves from interfering with timber supply. Finally, the province announces it will set up a conservation financing mechanism to help with the establishment of new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs).

  • 2022

    Following the BC government’s historic 2021 commitment to defer logging in old-growth forests with the oldest and largest trees, it announces that it has deferred 1.05 million hectares (ha) of the 2.6 million ha (about 40%) of the recommended priority areas, marking the largest move forward for old-growth conservation in a generation. Under intense pressure from the AFA and its supporters, the BC government allocates $185 million to support forestry workers and communities affected by old-growth deferrals. The largest private landowner in British Columbia, Mosaic Forest Management, moves to defer 40,000 ha of old-growth and older second-growth stands from logging on its private lands for the next 25 years, via a carbon credit program, including multiple groves that AFA has fought for years to protect. Through its partner organization, the Nature Based Solutions Foundation, the AFA enters a partnership with the Kanaka Bar Indian Band in order to support and provide capacity funding for its Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA), including the purchase of an exceptional old-growth forest on private land. At the end of the year, the provincial government commits to protecting 30% of the lands in BC by 2030, another major campaign ask from AFA. This move, if acted on, would bring the province in line with federal and international conservation targets and double the area currently protected in BC, safeguarding 14 million ha — the most ambitious conservation plan in BC’s history. Finally, for the first time ever, the province publicly acknowledges the need for conservation financing as a tool to safeguard the most biodiverse areas and the importance of IPCAs in meeting BC’s conservation targets — two things that AFA has campaigned for relentlessly!


  • 2021

    The AFA commissions an independent study through ESSA Technologies to assess the economic value of old-growth forests when they are left standing. The report reveals that rather than hindering the economy, protecting old-growth forests actually provides large economic benefits, including sustainable economic opportunities for communities that also preserve local fisheries and help combat climate change. The BC Forest Practices Board releases the results of its investigations on logging in the Nahmint Valley, spurred by AFA’s 2018 complaint. The report vindicates AFA’s complaint, finding that BCTS had been logging without proper protection of at-risk ecosystems, violating the law. In June, two more logging deferrals are announced, with the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations deferring old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran valleys for two years while they prepare resource management plans. An old-growth science panel is convened, something AFA has campaigned on for years. Known as the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), it is tasked with identifying and mapping at-risk old-growth ecosystems using the best science and data available, as recommended by the OGSR Panel. The TAP recommends deferring 2.6 million hectares of at-risk, old-growth forests (big-tree, ancient, and rare). The BC government, in principle, accepts this recommendation, pledging to collaborate with First Nations to implement the deferrals in their entirety. AFA photographer TJ Watt is recognized for his success as a conservation photographer and receives a grant from the Trebek Initiative, naming him a National Geographic and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer. His before and after images of logging in the Caycuse Valley are awarded in multiple international photography competitions.

  • 2020

    During AFA’s tenth birthday year, AFA campaigner and photographer TJ Watt’s series of devastating before-and-after images of old-growth logging in the Caycuse watershed receives international news coverage in The Guardian, creating an unprecedented firestorm of outrage and calls for change. The province also releases the results of its own Old Growth Strategic Review, authored by foresters Gary Merkel and Al Gorley. The review is damning and highlights the overwhelming failure of successive governments to properly manage old-growth forests, calling for a paradigm shift in how forests are managed in BC. The review includes 14 recommendations for the BC government, including to immediately defer all logging in the most at-risk old growth forest and to change priorities from timber extraction to ecosystem health. This is a revolutionary proposal, and provides official vindication of AFA’s longstanding calls for action. Following the additional pressure from AFA and the public and bolstered by the viral before-and-and after photo series, the province promises to implement all 14 Old Growth Strategic Review recommendations — the most ambitious old-growth protection commitment in BC history. The BC government also announces the first in a set of logging deferrals (temporary pauses to logging while protection plans can be developed), including in the McKelvie Valley near Tahsis, one of our main campaign areas.


  • 2019

    Under extreme pressure, a major crack in the political wall forms and the BC government launches the Old Growth Strategic Review asking British Columbians for feedback on how old-growth should be managed in the province. This incredible milestone is largely due to nearly a decade of advocacy from the AFA and the tens of thousands of British Columbians who have spoken up for old growth over the years. AFA provides critical input to the process and mobilizes BC residents to submit their feedback on the proposed Old Growth Strategy, demanding immediate policy changes to protect old-growth forests. The BC government also announces a new Special Tree Protection Regulation to help protect the biggest trees in the province. This was a result of AFA campaign efforts that began as far back as 2012 under the then BC Liberal government. Though the measures don’t go far enough, it’s a step in the right direction.

  • 2018

    AFA exposes the destructive logging of some of Canada’s most spectacular ancient forests and near record-sized trees in the Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, including the felling of Canada’s ninth widest Douglas-fir, by the BC government’s own logging agency, BC Timber Sales. The story and accompanying images quickly garners international attention and sparks outrage among thousands of British Columbians, putting heightened pressure on the province to end old-growth logging. Citing evidence that the logging violated the province’s own land-use regulations, the AFA submits a natural resource violation complaint to the Ministry of Forests asserting that BC Timber Sales’ Forest Stewardship Plan failed to properly protect rare and underrepresented ecosystems in the valley. This complaint and the concurrent public outrage triggers an investigation by the BC Forest Practices Board.


  • 2017

    In a massive shift for the old-growth movement, The Public and Private Workers of BC (PPWC), formerly the Pulp, Paper, and Woodworkers of Canada, passes a resolution calling for an end to old-growth logging on Vancouver Island after almost two decades of alliance building with AFA team members. This historic resolution is possible through cooperative campaigns between the AFA’s co-founder, Ken Wu, and the PPWC’s forestry officer and later, president, Arnie Bercov, who worked together against forestry deregulation, raw log exports, and old-growth logging, to pave the path for further cooperation with many other forestry workers. AFA also finishes its work on the trails and boardwalk at Avatar Grove, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Pacheedaht First Nation.

  • 2016

    After dedicated outreach by AFA, the BC Chamber of Commerce — the largest business lobby in the province, representing 36,000 businesses — passes a resolution calling on the province to expand the protection of BC’s old-growth forests in order to support the economy. This resolution — a tectonic shift in the political landscape of BC — is the culmination of similar resolutions passed by the Port Renfrew, Sooke, and WestShore Chamber of Commerce as a result of their collaboration with the AFA and our work with hundreds of BC’s tourism and local businesses. Later in 2016, the Union of BC Municipalities, representing over 150 municipal and regional governments across the province, passes a resolution calling on the province to end logging of old-growth forests on Vancouver Island, while BC Nature (formerly the Federation of BC Naturalists) representing 53 naturalist clubs across the province calls for an end to logging in BC’s iconic central Walbran Valley.


  • 2013-2014

    The AFA plays a critical role in defeating the BC government’s proposal to expand Tree Farm Licences (exclusive area-based logging rights for major timber companies) across the province.

  • 2013

    The AFA is instrumental in achieving protection for 55 hectares or approximately 60% of the Echo Lake Ancient Forest, a rare lowland old-growth forest near Mission, and the largest night-roosting site for bald eagles on Earth. AFA also begins construction on a new boardwalk at Avatar Grove with the help of volunteers.


  • 2012

    After a two-year campaign in collaboration with the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce, the AFA succeeds in convincing the BC government to protect the magnificent Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew. AFA releases shocking before and after maps and statistics of logging across Vancouver Island and BC’s south coast.

  • 2010 & 2018

    The AFA plays an important role in protecting 3,000 hectares of a highly endangered coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem on eastern Vancouver Island and on the Gulf Islands. This is accomplished by engaging the news media, social media, and by mobilizing thousands of AFA supporters to speak up to provincial decision-makers, which leads to two sets of new land-use orders to protect these extremely precious and threatened forests.

    2010 & 2018