BC's old-growth forests are world renowned for their beauty and grandeur, where moss-draped trees can grow as wide as living rooms and as tall as downtown skyscrapers
Old-growth forests are vital to support wildlife, including numerous species at risk;
they're fundamental pillars of BC's multi-billion dollar tourism industry;
they store vast amounts of carbon to counteract climate change;
they provide clean water and support wild salmon;
and they're vital to many First Nations whose cultures evolved in old-growth forests over millennia.
A century of unsustainable overcutting has largely eliminated the biggest and best trees in the biologically-diverse valley bottoms and lower elevations that historically built BC's forest industry.
This has resulted in diminishing returns as the trees get smaller, lower in value, and more expense to reach high up the mountainsides
As a result, dozens of old-growth mills have closed and tens of thousands of BC workers have lost their jobs over the past two decades as the finest old-growth stands have been depleted.
Much of the remaining old-growth forests are marginal stands in bogs, on steep, rocky slopes, and at high elevations with small and stunted trees, and generally have little timber value. Meanwhile, the last endangered old-growth stands on the productive growing sites with big trees, or ancient forests, are still being targeted for logging.
As our second-growth forests mature - which now comprise most of BC's productive forest lands -- there has been a lack of government regulations and incentives to ensure investment in coastal second-growth mills and wood processing facilities. This has resulted in the mass exodus of raw logs to China, the US, and other nations at the expense of BC job opportunities.
With a provincial election approaching on May 14, 2013, British Columbia is now at a crossroads: The BC Liberal government and the NDP opposition can choose a bigger, wiser vision to protect our endangered old-growth forests and ensure a sustainable, value-added second-growth forest industry.
Or they can fail to learn from our history's mistakes and continue to support the disastrous status quo of unsustainable, short-sighted resource depletion in our forests that is causing the increasing collapse of ecosystems and communities. Politicians who fail to recognize this trajectory and the need to take a new direction, don't deserve power.
And it's citizens who speak up, organize, mobilize, and vote with an informed conscience, who are key to creating the political will among our elected representatives.
Please SEND a MESSAGE to BC's politicians at www.BCForestMovement.com and take part in the campaign for sustainable forestry!
Authorized by the Ancient Forest Alliance, registered sponsor under the Election Act Ancient Forest, Alliance, Victoria Main PO, PO Box 8459, Victoria, BC, V8W 3S1 Can