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Posted September 17, 2010

Ancient Forest Alliance Stands in Solidarity with Forestry Workers

Environmental Groupís Forest Campaigner, TJ Watt, speaks to hundreds-strong forestry union rally

AFA Media Release, September 17, 2010

Ancient Forest Alliance Stands in Solidarity with Forestry Workers
Click for larger image

Arnold Bercov, president of the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada (PPWC), Local 8 speaks at the rally in Nanaimo on Sept.16th to ban raw log exports.
Photo by TJ Watt

 

Friday, September 17th, 2010

 

 

Ancient Forest Alliance Stands in Solidarity with Forestry Workers

Environmental Group’s Forest Campaigner, TJ Watt, speaks to hundreds-strong forestry union rally

 Nanaimo, BC, Canada - In a seemingly unlikely event, the Ancient Forest Alliance stood in solidarity with members of the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada and the United Steelworkers union in Nanaimo yesterday as part of the ongoing fight to ban raw log exports in BC. AFA forest campaigner TJ Watt spoke alongside union officials, Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog, and Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley to the hundreds of workers in attendance, denouncing the export of raw logs and calling for the protection of BC's threatened forestry jobs.

 

 "Under Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals we have seen over 60 mills shut down across the province since 2003 while raw log exports have nearly doubled" said Watt. "It's time to ban raw log exports in BC, to rejuvenate local mills, and to once again provide secure jobs for the thousands upon thousands of forestry workers who have been kicked aside by this backwards policy". Simply put - “Exported logs = exported jobs”.

 

The AFA believes there can be a solution that works for both our ancient forests and our forestry workers. "The BC Liberal government needs to stimulate investment in the retooling of old-growth sawmills so they can handle second-growth trees. With 90% of the most productive lands on Vancouver Island having already been logged, the future of this industry is in sustainable second-growth forestry," says Brendan Harry, communications director of the Ancient Forest Alliance. "They also need to establish incentives for the creation of value-added facilities where we will see more refined products made here in BC and even more jobs created. This should be a no brainer."

 

 

It is inevitable that there will be a transition to logging of only second-growth forests in the not so distant future as the remaining old-growth forests are logged out on Vancouver Island and the Southern Mainland . The Ancient Forest Alliance calls on the BC Liberal government to make this transition happen now, in a planned, rational way, allowing for the protection what little endangered old-growth ecosystems are left and ensuring a smooth shift to sustainable second-growth logging instead.

 

With so little of our ancient forests remaining, the Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on the BC Liberal government to:

·         Immediately protect the most at-risk old-growth forests – such as those on the South Island where only 12% remains and on eastern Vancouver Island where only 1% remains.

·         Undertake a Provincial Old-Growth Strategy that will inventory the old-growth forests across the province and protect them where they are scarce through legislated time lines to quickly phase-out old-growth logging in those regions (ie. Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, southern Interior, etc.).

·         Ensure that second-growth forests are logged at a sustainable rate of cut

·         End the export of raw logs in order to create guaranteed log supplies for local milling and value-added industries.

·         Assist in the retooling and development of mills and value-added facilities to handle second-growth logs.

·         Undertake new land-use planning initiatives based on First Nations land-use plans, ecosystem-based scientific assessments, and climate mitigation strategies involving forest protection.

“If the industry does not adjust in order process second-growth trees, what happens down the road when that’s basically all that’s available? Where are the forestry jobs going to be?” Watt wonders. “The rest of most the world is logging second, third, fourth growth and making it work. We need to be moving up the value chain, not down it. In the end, it's about the long term sustainability of a resource and an industry, and right now we're moving in completely the wrong direction."

 


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