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British Columbia Ancient Forests News
Join the Growing Number of BC Businesses Calling for Old-Growth Forest Protection
October 16, 2018
Click HERE to sign the BC business resolution on old-growth protection and sustainable, second-growth forestry
BC’s old-growth forests are among the most spectacular forests on Earth, second only to the US redwoods in grandeur. Their popularity among tourists from around the world make old-growth forests vital pillars of BC’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry. The protection of old-growth forests has been shown to boost eco-tourism and recreation, create jobs, and generate increased business revenues in nearby communities.
Protecting old-growth forests a boon for businesses
In fact, the Ancient Forests Alliance’s campaign to protect Avatar Grove has hugely bolstered the business revenues, jobs, and real-estate values in the Sooke to Port Renfrew corridor and has made the town of Port Renfrew a major tourism destination.
What’s more, old-growth forests also improve commercial and recreational fishing, an economic driver for coastal communities, by providing clean water for salmon. With protected old-growth forests in close proximity, towns may have the chance to invest in carbon-offset markets and sell non-timber forest products such as wild foraged mushrooms.
“It makes plain good business sense to leave those majestic trees standing because they have a lot more economic value, over and over again, as a draw for tourists, than cutting them down.” – Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce president Dan Hagar
Join businesses and chambers of commerce across B.C. calling for greater old-growth forest protection and sustainable, second-growth forestry
Across the province, more and more businesses recognize the need to protect old-growth forests.
Stable, long-term forestry jobs in B.C.
Due to over a century of industrial logging in BC, less than 10% of the original, high-productivity forests at low elevations remain today on B.C.’s southern coast. Largely due to their scarcity, the value of protecting old-growth forests now economically outweighs the economic benefits of logging them in large parts of the province, according to a 2008 study.
While virtually the entirety of the Western industrialized world, including the USA, Europe, Japan, and the rest of Canada, are logging 50- to 100-year-old stands, including second-, third-, and fourth-growth forests, the status quo of old-growth liquidation is still underway across much of BC. We must complete the transition to second-growth forestry before it’s too late to protect our remaining old-growth forests. Promoting policies that support greater processing and value-added manufacturing of second-growth logs in the province could sustain or increase the number of forestry jobs in BC while old-growth logging is quickly phased out.
Helping communities gain long-term economic benefits from old-growth forests
The resolution calls on the BC government to:
Click HERE to sign the resolution today on behalf of your business
Business Resolution on Old-Growth Forest Protection and Sustainable Forestry
Old-growth forests are vital pillars of BC’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry, with tourists coming from around the world to visit BC’s old-growth forests and parks; they enhance property values due to their importance for scenery, recreation, tourism, wildlife, and for improving the regional quality of life; they store vast amounts of atmospheric carbon, allowing local communities to benefit from rapidly expanding carbon markets; they supply clean water for communities and for wild salmon, which in turn supports commercial and recreational fisheries; they contribute to BC’s high environmental quality of life that attracts a skilled workforce to the province, including those working in the high-tech sector; and they are also important for non-timber products, such as mushrooms, wild berries, and medicines.
Studies have shown that keeping old-growth forests standing can provide a greater overall economic benefit than cutting them down when factoring in their value in supporting tourism, recreation, carbon offsets, water conservation and filtration, recreational and commercial fisheries, and non-timber forest products (e.g. wild mushrooms). Across British Columbia, local communities stand to receive a greater net economic benefit in revenues and jobs over the ensuing decades by keeping nearby old-growth forests standing.
Old-growth forests are central to many First Nations cultures which rely on ancient cedars for building traditional canoes, long houses, totem poles, masks and other items, and on plants, wildlife, and wild salmon for food and medicine. While the protection of old-growth forests in First Nations' territories would support their cultures and help lay the foundation for sustainable economies, many of these communities lack the financial capacity and support needed to diversify their economies so that old-growth forests can be protected rather than logged.
Old-growth forests are scarce in much of BC today. For example, on BC’s southern coast, over 75% of original, productive, old-growth has been logged, including well over 90% of the highest productivity, valley-bottom forests where the largest trees grow. Old-growth forests now make up a minority fraction of the productive, forested land base, meaning second-growth forests now dominate most of the productive forest lands in BC.
We therefore recommend the Provincial Government: