British Columbia will be working with First Nations to harvest ancient, rare and priority large stands of trees within 2.6-million hectares of B.C.͛s most at-risk old-growth forests.
Logging deferrals are seen as a temporary measure to prevent biodiversity loss while First Nations, the province and other partners develop a new approach to sustainable forest management
This new approach is based on recommendations provided in the Old Growth Strategic Review.
“Forests are a part of who we are as British Columbians. We have a responsibility to ensure the benefits are shared, today and with future generations,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement.
“Following the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review, we are taking steps to fundamentally transform the way we manage our old-growth forests, lands and resources.”
Details of which forest stands are included have been shared with First Nations rights and title holders so they can advise how to proceed on the deferral areas within their respective territories.
The province is requesting that First Nations indicate within the next 30 days whether or not they support the deferrals or require further engagement to incorporate local and Indigenous knowledge.
They could also decide whether they would prefer to discuss deferrals through existing treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
In June, the province announced the deferral of the harvesting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran Valley for two years.
The decision stemmed from a request from the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations to defer old-growth logging for two years in the areas of Vancouver Island while the nations prepare formal forestry plans.
The decision impacted about 2,000 hectares of forest from logging.
To support the deferral process, government will immediately cease advertising and selling B.C. timber sales in the affected areas.
“We’re building a new vision for forest care to better share all the benefits of our forests together, for generations and generations to come,” forests minister Katrine Conroy said.
“We are committed to working in partnership with First Nations to make sure we get this right and to supporting workers and communities as we develop a sustainable approach to managing B.C.’s old-growth forests.”
There are already some parts of the province, such as the Great Bear Rainforest, where Indigenous Nations are working in partnership with government and industry to diversify management goals.