STOP logging in BCs old growth rainforests

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According to a release, environmental organizations Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) and Sierra Club BC say they have discovered that the provincial government agency is proposing cutblocks across the last intact old-growth rainforest areas on the island.

The groups claim that a 1,300-hectare area, equivalent to the size of more than three Stanley Parks, is intended to be auctioned for industrial clearcutting in 2019.

The information is based off a review of BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) sales schedule.

The release notes that the proposed cutblocks include areas near Sayward (Ma’amtagila territory) and Gold River (Mowachaht/Muchalaht territory).

Sierra Club BC forest and climate campaigner Jens Wieting said the forested areas along northern Vancouver Island would take up roughly 700 hectares.

According to the two groups, the largest concentration of proposed cutblocks is near Sproat and Nahmint Lakes in Hupacasath and Tseshaht territories close to Port Alberni.

“Vancouver Island’s ancient rainforests have helped sustain Indigenous cultures, a vast array of plants and animals and a stable climate since the last ice age. The province shouldn’t risk eliminating rare species and plant communities across these blocks,” said Sunshine Coast resident Ross Muirhead, a forest campaigner with ELF who monitors BCTS’ logging developments.

“Destroying the last great old-growth stands is a huge mistake that will be looked back upon by future generations as a huge travesty. Remaining intact forests are needed to create linkages within highly fragmented landscapes and to avoid tipping points when it comes to climate change and species extinction.”

Wieting claims that the proposed cutbacks only represents a fraction of the old growth logging on Vancouver Island overall.

“This is what… the government-controlled agency is proposing for the next year or so,” he said. “In addition, we have many other companies logging old growth. So overall, we’re looking at about 10,000 hectares of old growth logging every year. This is more than 30 soccer fields per day and it’s really quite shocking considering that there’s very little left.”

Sierra Club BC data shows that industrial old-growth logging continues at a rate of more than three square metres per second, or about 34 soccer fields per day.