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Posted April 16, 2013

NDP Forestry Platform Fails Ecologically and Continues the Unsustainable Status Quo of Old-Growth Depletion and Overcutting

Media Release, April 15, 2013

NDP Forestry Platform Fails Ecologically and Continues the Unsustainable Status Quo of Old-Growth Depletion and Overcutting
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NDP Leader Adrian Dix, during his 2011 campaign to become party leader, promised to: “Develop a long term strategy for old growth forests in the province, including protection of specific areas that are facing immediate logging plans.”

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2013
 
NDP Forestry Platform Fails Ecologically and Continues the Unsustainable Status Quo of Old-Growth Depletion and Overcutting
 
This morning the BC NDP released their forestry platform that fails to bring in any environmental measures and essentially continues the unsustainable status quo of old-growth forest liquidation and overcutting at the expense of ecosystems and communities.
 
 “This is a disappointing flop of a forestry platform, ecologically-speaking. It continues the unsustainable status quo of resource depletion in this province that is causing the collapse of species, ecosystems, and human communities. Nowhere does it mention the need to protect endangered old-growth forests and to ensure sustainable second-growth forestry, the central forestry land-use conflicts.  All it says is to plant more trees. Tree farms do not replicate ancient forests for supporting endangered species, tourism, the climate, clean water, or wild salmon,” stated Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director.
 
The NDP’s forestry platform  includes such items as investing in more tree-planting, expanding global markets for BC wood products, reducing raw log exports (with no details how besides “work with stakeholders”), creating a jobs commissioner, training more workers, and better inventorying forestry resources. See: www.bcndp.ca/files/BG-BCNDP-130415_-_Forestry.pdf
 
A legislative proposal released last Thursday for an “Old Growth Protection Act” by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre (ELC) would incorporate science-based targets and timelines to protect BC’s endangered old-growth forests. See:  www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=624 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb09Z0-4rmE
 
The BC Green Party committed last Friday to the key parts of the Old-Growth Protection Act. See: www.andrewjweaver.ca/bc_green_party_forestry_action_plan
 
The BC Liberals’ have not indicated any change from their unscientific stance that old-growth forests are not endangered, and that they’ve managed them well. They leave a largely anti-environmental legacy of supporting old-growth liquidation across most of the province, large-scale environmental deregulation, grossly unsustainable expanded harvest levels, massive raw log exports, and the loss of over 30,000 forestry jobs while tens of millions of raw logs have been exported.
 
“The NDP’s forestry platform fundamentally fails forestry-dependent communities, as the main driver in the loss of forestry jobs over the past 20 years is unsustainable resource depletion. Continuing the status quo of high-grading the biggest and best old-growth trees in the lower elevations, and overcutting  in general has resulted in diminishing returns as the trees get smaller, more expensive to reach, and lower in value. As our second-growth forests mature, we’ve been shipping them off as raw logs to foreign mills,” stated Wu. “We need to protect our endangered old-growth forests, ensure the sustainable logging of second-growth forests, and to have clearly defined policies that will end the export of raw, unprocessed logs out of the country. The NDP’s forestry platform does none of that.”
 
NDP Leader Adrian Dix, during his 2011 campaign to become party leader, promised to: “Develop a long term strategy for old growth forests in the province, including protection of specific areas that are facing immediate logging plans.” (see point #4 in “Ecosystem Management”)  http://conservationvoters.ca/past-endorsements/leadership-race-2011/ndp-candidates/adrian-dix
 
While several NDP MLA’s have championed protecting specific old-growth forests while in Opposition, which the Ancient Forest Alliance has given kudos for, at this time Dix and the NDP party as a whole have not followed up, developed any specifics, re-mentioned, or even officially adopted Dix’s earlier leadership promise for a province-wide old-growth plan.
 
On Saturday, comments by the NDP’s Environment Critic Rob Fleming in the Times Colonist suggests the party supports scientific conservation assessments of our old-growth forests as proposed by the “Old-Growth Protection Act”. See: www.timescolonist.com/news/world/ancient-forest-alliance-calls-for-science-based-forest-plan-1.109973  This is a recent step forward. However, the party has not committed yet to the plan’s actual protection scheme that would end old-growth logging in endangered regions –  the crux of the plan.
 
 “The NDP seem to have a short memory and have forgotten about the ‘War in the Woods’ during their reign in the 1990’s, and we need to push them to remember,” stated Wu.  “We’ll give credit where credit is due, and we want to give the NDP credit. They can still move forward with additional policy commitments before the election, such as a provincial old-growth plan based on science and timelines – if they don’t, then clearly Adrian Dix has broken his promise. That’s no way to head into an election.”
 
On Vancouver Island, about 75% of the original, productive old-growth forests have been logged, including 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. Most productive forests on Vancouver Island and in BC are now second-growth which should be managed sustainably. See:  www.ancientforestalliance.org/old-growth-maps.php
 
See spectacular photos of our old-growth forests at: www.ancientforestalliance.org/galleries.php  (NOTE: Media are free to reprint any photos, credit to “TJ Watt” if possible. Let us know if you need higher res shots too)
 
See a recent ancient forest campaign video atwww.youtube.com/watch?v=z6YTizBF-jE
 
Authorized by the Ancient Forest Alliance, registered sponsor under the Election Act
Ancient Forest, Alliance, Victoria Main PO, PO Box 8459, Victoria, BC, V8W 3S1 Canada


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