The NDP government is moving to protect more trees in B.C., but not everyone is happy.
Speaking amid protected Douglas fir trees at Francis/King Regional Park, forestry minister Doug Donaldson said Wednesday that 54 big trees that could have been harvested will now remain standing and will be “surrounded by a one-hectare grove to act as a buffer zone.”
“These trees represent an important part of B.C.’s natural heritage, and British Columbians have said they want them preserved,” he said. “What we are announcing today is the start of a broader conversation about the future of old-growth management in this province.”
The 54 trees are part of the University of British Columbia’s Big Tree Registry, which tracks the largest trees of each species in the province.
A statement from the B.C. Green Party called the move “inadequate given the ongoing, unsustainable logging of old-growth across the province.”
Jens Wieting with the Sierra Club BC called it “a small step in the right direction,” but much more needs to be done.
“Thousands of old-growth trees are being logged every single day in B.C.,” he said. “On Vancouver Island alone, we are losing more than 30 soccer fields of old-growth rainforest every day.”
WATCH: (Jun 6, 2019) Province-wide rallies to protect old-growth forests
According to the province, 55 per cent of old-growth forests on Crown land in B.C.’s coastal region are already protected from logging.
The province says amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act coming later this year will provide a permanent approach to protecting big trees.