Together with representatives from tourism businesses and local government, Sierra Club BC and German environmental organization Rainforest Rescue called for an end to the ongoing clearcutting of Vancouver Island’s last endangered ancient rainforest. (Keri Coles/News staff)

International call for action to save B.C.’s old-growth rainforests

Petition with 185,000 signatures delivered to B.C. Legislature

As part of an international call for action, the voices of 185,000 people from around the world were heard Thursday at the B.C. Legislature, when a petition calling for the protection of B.C.’s old-growth forests was delivered to the government.

Together with representatives from tourism businesses and local government, Sierra Club BC and German environmental organization Rainforest Rescue called for an end to the ongoing clearcutting of Vancouver Island’s last endangered ancient rainforest.

“The ongoing destruction undermines the positive image of Canada internationally,” said Mathias Rittgerott, spokesperson with Rainforest Rescue. “Protecting rare old-growth forests is a crucial step in fighting global warming and saving habitat of endangered species. There is no price tag for the value of these forests.”

READ ALSO: ‘Stunning grove’ of unprotected old-growth trees located near Port Renfrew

Sent to Premier John Horgan and Forest Minister Doug Donaldson, the petition calls on the provincial government to “impose an immediate moratorium on the logging of intact forests in hotspots such as the Central Walbran and other valuable areas on Vancouver Island and the mainland.”

Ministerial assistant Tim Renneberg accepted the petition on behalf of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Most of the concerned citizens who signed the petition are from Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Australia and Argentina.

READ ALSO: Province not rushing to extinguish old growth chainsaws anytime soon

Local political support for the call came from Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and councillor-elect for the City of Victoria Laurel Collins who joined the group on the steps of the legislature.

“We can produce high quality, high value wood and good jobs while protecting watersheds and our climate with strong forest stewardship and improved forest management,” said Collins.

The ongoing harvesting of the globally rare, endangered old-growth rainforests worries Island tourism operators and experts as well, who say the destruction jeopardizes B.C.’s tourism economy.

“Opportunities to experience old-growth forests are increasingly rare in B.C. and particularly on Vancouver Island. Tourism businesses built around these experiences are sustainable year after year. The lack of consideration and foresight for other economic uses of these resources is a significant concern,” said Scott Benton of the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC.

“Tourists come to Vancouver Island to experience what is missing in so many other parts of the world: intact nature,” echoed Brian White, professor at Royal Roads University School of Tourism and Hospitality. “And yet what they find when they get here is big stumps, not big trees. We’re concerned about the impact on tourism businesses.”

The NDP’s 2017 election platform included a commitment to act for old-growth, promising to take “an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.”

The group is asking the government to follow through on that promise.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Province not doing enough for forestry sector, say Liberals

Although Minister of Forests says government working to diversify industry, rural economies

Column: how to bring young blood to ranching

A Young Agarians program seeks to partner new ranchers with old

Stolen truck involved in fatal collision on Highway 16

Wednesday’s two-vehicle crash killed one man, 23, and injured two others

Local company Northern Homecraft wins big at Northern B.C. awards

Vanderhoof company won in two categories for homes built in Fort St. James area

Column: the 4-H way of life

Local 4-H member Jacinta Meir on what being a member means to her

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Most Read