Write, phone, and/or meet with your provincial Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and ask them to support ancient forest protection and sustainable, second-growth forestry.
Since coming to power, the BC NDP government hasn’t made any concrete policies to protect ancient forests or to ensure a sustainable, second-growth forest industry, despite promising in their 2017 election platform to manage BC’s old-growth forests based on the “ecosystem-based management” approach of the Great Bear Rainforest (where most of the forests on BC’s Central and North Coast were set aside from logging).
The new BC NDP government needs a major wake-up call. They must be convinced to break away from the destructive forest policies of the previous BC Liberal government. Almost 80% of the original, productive old-growth forests on Vancouver Island have already been logged, including over 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. Vast amounts of old-growth logging – over 10,000 hectares each year on Vancouver Island alone – is causing major damage to our native biodiversity, water quality, wild salmon, the climate, scenery, tourism economy, and First Nations cultures.
Over 16,000 Ancient Forest Alliance supporters have sent messages to BC government ministers and politicians, demanding action. British Columbians from diverse segments of society, including the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Union of BC Municipalities, the Public and Private Workers of Canada union, have all called on the provincial government to increase the protection of BC’s remaining old-growth forests.
NOW IT’S TIME TO GO A STEP FURTHER! If you live in British Columbia, please contact your own Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), the elected provincial politician who is supposed to represent YOU. They need to know that the provincial NDP government or the political party that they belong to (if they are a BC Liberal or Green MLA) must make it a top priority to protect BC’s old-growth forests and to support a sustainable, value-added, second-growth forest industry. Please write, phone, or meet with your local MLA – or better yet…do all three!
Start by visiting the BC legislature website to find your MLA’s name and contact information.
When EMAILING your MLA, please explain that:
- Old-growth forests are important for sustaining endangered species, tourism, clean water, wild salmon, and many First Nations cultures.
- A science-based, legislated plan is needed to protect BC’s endangered old-growth forests.
- Forestry jobs can be sustained and enhanced by restricting raw log exports to keep BC logs for BC’s mills and by providing financial incentives (e.g. tax breaks) to help develop a value-added, second-growth wood manufacturing industry.
- Financial support for First Nations’ sustainable economic development, such as tourism and renewable energy, is needed as an alternative to old-growth logging, along with support for First Nations’ land use plans and Tribal Parks.
- While long-term solutions are being developed, in the interim, the BC government can immediately protect more old-growth forests by:
- Placing moratoria on logging on the old-growth “hotspots” (the most intact, valuable areas).
- Directing the government’s own logging agency, BC Timber Sales, to discontinue issuance of old-growth cut blocks;
- Dedicating funding for a provincial Land Acquisition Fund to purchase and protect old-growth forests and endangered ecosystems on private lands.
* Be sure to include your full name and address so that they know you’re a real person!
When PHONING your MLA’s constituency office:
When phoning, you’ll likely speak to a Constituency Assistant. Briefly let them know your name, home address (so they know you’re a constituent), and tell them BC needs:
- A science-based plan to protect endangered old-growth forests.
- Incentives for a sustainable second-growth forest industry.
- Funding for First Nations sustainable economic development in lieu of old-growth logging
- A land acquisition fund to purchase and protect endangered old-growth forests on private lands.
When MEETING your MLA:
Request a face-to-face meeting when writing or phoning your MLA. Provide your name and residential address so they know you’re from the Member’s constituency. Before meeting with your MLA, review the background information below and read these talking points, which will help you get prepared. In the meeting, ask them what they will do to help and write down their answer. Be polite, but firm, and listen carefully. If your MLA makes a commitment or shares something noteworthy that you would like to share with us at the Ancient Forest Alliance, email us at [email protected]. Please feel free to contact us in advance if you need advice on meeting your MLA.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION on BC’s Old-Growth Forests
BC’s old-growth forests are among the most magnificent forests on Earth. Home to some of the world’s largest trees, old-growth forests are not only iconic parts of BC – they also support unique plants, animals, and cultures.
Despite their environmental, cultural, and economic value, our magnificent ancient forests are increasingly endangered by industrial logging. On BC’s southern coast, 80% of the original productive old-growth forests have been logged, including well over 90% of the lowland ancient forests where the richest biodiversity and largest trees are found. The logging of these carbon-rich forests contributes significantly to BC’s CO2 emissions and is driving old-growth dependent species towards extinction.
Only about 8% of Vancouver Island’s original, productive old-growth forests are protected in parks and Old-Growth Management Areas. Old-growth forests – with trees that can be 2,000 years old – are a non-renewable resource under BC’s system of forestry, where second-growth forests are re-logged every 50 to 100 years, never to become old-growth again.
Protecting old-growth forests is critical because they:
- Support unique wildlife, including species at risk.
- Provide clean water for people, wild salmon, and other wildlife.
- Store vast amounts of atmospheric carbon.
- Support the tourism industry.
- Are central to many First Nations cultures.
Environmental groups have been advocating for the protection of endangered old-growth forests in BC for almost 50 years, but we now have a unique opportunity to finally lay this conflict to rest. After 16 years of BC Liberal rule, the New Democratic Party (NDP) was elected into a minority government last year, with the balance of power held by the BC Green Party in a governing agreement. This new governing arrangement presents a first-rateopportunity to protect the province’s remaining endangered old-growth forests while ensuring a sustainable, value-added, second-growth forest industry to sustain BC forestry jobs. However, the government needs to act fast to protect what little old-growth remains in BC.
The Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on the new BC government to implement a major policy shift, which includes:
- A new law, an Old-Growth Protection Act, that will protect BC’s endangered old-growth forests based on science.
- Financial support for First Nations’ sustainable economic development as an alternative to old-growth logging, along with support for First Nations land use planning including the establishment of tribal parks and new protected areas.
- An interim halt on logging in old-growth “hotspots” (areas of high conservation value) to ensure the largest and best stands of remaining old-growth forests are kept intact while a larger plan is developed.
- Undertaking several policies immediately, while new legislation and First Nations land use plans are being developed over several years, to reduce old-growth logging right now, including:
- Implementing the long overdue Big Tree Protection Order, which would protect BC’s biggest trees with buffer zones;
- Turning “non-legal” Old-Growth Management Areas into legally-binding reserves;
- Directing BC Timber Sales (the BC government’s logging agency) to stop issuing old-growth cut blocks; and
- Creating a provincial land acquisition fund to purchase and protect endangered ecosystems on private lands.
- Sustaining and enhancing forestry jobs through regulations against raw log exports while providing financial incentives for the development of value-added, second-growth wood manufacturing facilities.