Victoria – Conservationists with the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) are applauding today’s resolution by the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC), representing thousands of forestry workers across BC, calling on the BC government to protect Vancouver Island’s old-growth forests, while ensuring a sustainable, value-added second-growth forest industry, an end to raw log exports, and support for First Nations community development. The major forestry union joins thousands of businesses (BC Chamber of Commerce), mayors and city councils (Union of BC Municipalities), First Nations, and conservation groups across BC in calling on the provincial government to increase protection for BC’s endangered old-growth forests.
“This is a historic leap forward in the snowballing movement to protect the remaining old-growth forests on Vancouver Island. 20 years ago it would’ve been inconceivable that a forestry union would call for an end to old-growth logging anywhere in BC. But the PPWC have always been forward thinking – they realize the future is in the sustainable, value-added second-growth forestry, as second-growth forests now dominate the vast majority of the productive forest lands here. Plus, they’ve always had a strong social and environmental conscience for the broader good of communities, which is how real progress happens. Endangered species, tourism, clean water, wild salmon, the climate, and First Nations cultures will all benefit from keeping Vancouver Island’s remaining old-growth forests alive”, stated Ken Wu, Executive Director of the Ancient Forest Alliance.
“The full transition into a purely second-growth forest industry is inevitable when the last of the unprotected old-growth forests are logged. We’re just saying let's do it sooner, while we still have significant tracts of these ancient forests still standing”, stated Arnold Bercov, President of the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC). “By ending raw log exports and creating incentives and regulations for processing and value-adding second-growth logs, we can sustain and enhance forestry employment levels while protecting Vancouver Island's endangered old-growth forests at the same time.”
The PPWC, along with Unifor (another major BC forestry union) the Ancient Forest Alliance, Sierra Club of BC, Wilderness Committee, and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, put out a joint call on Monday for an immediate ban to old-growth log exports, progressively higher taxes on second-growth raw log exports to support domestic manufacturing, and additional policies to support sustainable, value-added forestry in rural and First Nations communities. The last 4 years have seen a record breaking volume of raw log exports – over 26 million cubic metres. One-third of which are old-growth and over half of which are from public lands (over the past 5 years), according to new research by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). BC could protect its endangered old-growth forests and sustain and enhance forestry employment levels at the same time if it increases the processing and value-added manufacturing of the second-growth logs (ie. doing more with less), while increasing the export of raw, unprocessed logs goes precisely in the wrong direction (ie. doing less with more). See: www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-rising-raw-log-exports-bad-for-forests-workers-1.10577445
The PPWC is over 50 years old and represents thousands of workers in sawmills, pulp mills, and work places across British Columbia. Visit www.ppwc.ca/about/
The PPWC forestry union joins various Chambers of Commerce, mayors and city councils, and conservation groups across BC in calling on the provincial government to protect BC’s old-growth forests. BC’s premier business lobby, the BC Chamber of Commerce, representing 36,000 businesses, passed a resolution last May calling on the province to expand protection for BC’s old-growth forests to support the economy, after a series of similar resolutions passed by the Port Renfrew, Sooke, and WestShore Chambers of Commerce. See: www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=1010
Both the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), representing the mayors, city and town councils, and regional districts across BC, and Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC), representing Vancouver Island local governments, passed a resolution last year calling on the province to protect the Vancouver Island’s remaining old-growth forests by amending the 1994 land use plan. See: https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=1057
The editorial board of the Vancouver Sun, the province’s largest newspaper, also called on the BC government last September to show some conservation leadership around Vancouver Island’s old-growth forests, noting that the status quo of old-growth logging is ramping up conflict and uncertainty in the forest industry and requires government action. They wrote:
“There is a legitimate discussion to be had about the value of old-growth forests, about whether what remains on the South Coast and Vancouver Island is sufficiently protected, about the extent to which the remaining inventory should be protected, and about resource jobs and the rights of companies to do legal business. Surely, however, there is also a clear role for the provincial government, which has duties of both environmental stewardship and resource management, to serve as an intermediary in such conflicts by providing clear, science-based, arm’s-length evidence as the foundation for an even-handed conversation and to help the two groups whose interests it represents to find common ground. More leadership and less lethargy from Victoria, please.” See: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-victoria-must-intervene-in-renewed-war-in-the-woods
The Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on the BC government to implement a comprehensive science-based plan to protect all of BC’s remaining endangered old-growth forests, and to also ensure a sustainable, value-added second-growth forest industry.
Old-growth forests are vital to sustain unique endangered species, climate stability, tourism, clean water, wild salmon, and the cultures of many First Nations. On BC’s southern coast, satellite photos show that at least 75% of the original, productive old-growth forests have been logged, including well over 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. Only about 8% of Vancouver Island’s original, productive old-growth forests are protected in parks and Old-Growth Management Areas. Old-growth forests – with trees that can be 2000 years old – are a non-renewable resource under BC’s system of forestry, where second-growth forests are re-logged every 50 to 100 years, never to become old-growth again.
See maps and stats on the remaining old-growth forests on BC’s southern coast at: www.ancientforestalliance.org/old-growth-maps.php
In order to placate public fears about the loss of BC’s endangered old-growth forests, the BC government’s PR-spin typically over-inflates the amount of remaining old-growth forests by including hundreds of thousands of hectares of marginal, low productivity forests growing in bogs and at high elevations with smaller, stunted trees, lumped in with the productive old-growth forests, where the large trees grow (and where most logging takes place). “It’s like including your Monopoly money with your real money and then claiming to be a millionaire, so why curtail spending?” stated Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner TJ Watt.
See a rebuttal to some of the BC government’s PR-spin and stats about old-growth forests towards the BOTTOM of the webpage: https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=1052