A Vancouver-based environmental group said more than 200 people, including scientists, Indigenous leaders, politicians, actors and artists, signed a letter calling on B.C. Premier John Horgan to put end to old logging.
Canopy says those signing the open letter and sending messages to Horgan range from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs to former NASA scientist James Hansen and actors William Shatner and Dame. Judi Dench.
Shatner visited old growth forests in British Columbia, saying in his post that there are wonders that cannot be replaced, and that the Prime Minister should let the forests “live long and prosper.”
A Canopy statement says only fragments of old growth forest remain in British Columbia and logging continues, despite recent postponements announced by the province covering “relatively small areas.”
The Squamish Nation reported in June that they had identified at least 20 cutblocks within 150 kilometers of Vancouver where ancient logging is planned, and they echoed three Vancouver Island First Nations who say they will postpone any old forest harvest while developing long-term sustainable development plans in their territories.
Forests Minister Katrine Conroy told the legislature during Question Period this week that British Columbia has postponed harvesting old growth forests in 11 areas this year, totaling nearly 200,000 hectares, and put large tree regulations in place that protect over 1,500 groves.
The B.C. government appointed an independent expert panel in 2019 to make recommendations on its approach to transforming old-growth forest management and Conroy said it is implementing all 14 recommendations.
“We have protected forest habitat for caribou, spotted owl and vulnerable species like marbled murres and northern goshawks,” she said.
Primatologist Jane Goodall is another signatory of the letter, and her message calling for a stop to ancient logging says it is “increasingly urgent” for voices to be raised to protect forests.
“Every ancient tree that is felled, every species that goes extinct, poses another threat to the future of our planet,” Goodall said in the statement.
Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Canopy, said the many calls to protect BC’s oldest trees “underscore the breadth of support for conservation and its importance to the health of the planet.”
This latest letter builds on a similar letter sent by Canopy in June containing the signatures of 100 opponents of ancient logging.
—The Canadian Press
Fairy Creek Watershed Forestry