Save the Rare Coastal Douglas Fir Forests of the Gulf Islands

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Salt Spring Island is one of the jewels of the Southern Gulf Islands on the Canadian west coast with a  population of 11 thousand that swells to about 40 thousand residents and visitors from all over the country and the world in the summer months. The local governing body The Islands Trust recently declared a 'Climate Emergency' and yet there are no restrictions or regulations on clear cutting large or small parcels of privately owned land for profit or development.

Currently, a number of our island’s rural residential properties are being clear-cut for timber sales.  In addition to a loss of vital carbon sequestering that help mitigate the climate crises, this unregulated logging presents a number of very serious threats to:

Our environment – destruction of wildlife habitat, disruption of native plant ecology, threats to wildlife, accelerated erosion, negative impacts on watersheds and aquifers;

Our Community – the diminishing of neighbours’ quality of life and right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and severe reductions of property values;

Our Economy – damage to the natural beauty of the island, thereby risking the livelihoods of many in the tourism industry for the profits of a few.

On properties all over the island mature forests are being razed to the ground for lumber sales in the name of agriculture and development.

An immediate suspension of logging is needed now to prevent loss of the rare and endangered ‘Older Coastal Douglas fir forest’ found on most of these lots.  This is one of the most sensitive ecosystems left in the Gulf Islands, according to the BC Conservation Data Centre.  The BC government has the authority and the responsibility to protect such sensitive ecosystems.

Failure to act decisively will ignore the climate crisis we’re facing as we risk losing a large proportion of our remaining forests while a comprehensive policy is being debated.  Older forests are not renewable, and changing weather patterns as well as the over-abundance of deer prevent secondary growth from establishing as in the past. 

Consequently, all citizens of British Columbia risk losing the special natural amenities of this unique natural environment forever.  

We urge Premier John Horgan and the BC Government to make an immediate and temporary stop to all clear cutting on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands until rules, regulations and protocols for selective harvesting, cutting permits and plans can be established.