The B.C. government is continuing to protect old-growth forests and enhance biodiversity by establishing 79 old growth management areas under the Oil and Gas Activities Act, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
This group of old growth management areas covers 82,841 hectares in four Natural Disturbance Units within the Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area, mostly west and southwest of Dawson Creek. Many of them are located between Hudson’s Hope and Pine Le Moray Provincial Park, and in the Hart Ranges between Pine Le Moray Provincial Park and Kakwa Provincial Park and Protected Area.
These old growth management areas were originally established under the Land Act in 2009, in consultation with First Nations and the forest industry, to protect them from forestry activity. Establishing them under the Oil and Gas Activities Act formally enhances the protection of these old-growth forests to include the oil and gas sector. The boundaries of these 79 areas have not changed.
This move addresses a recommendation in the 2012 Forest Practices Board special investigation report on old-growth management and contributes to the regulatory alignment of resource development activities.
Creating old growth management areas help protect the biological diversity of old-growth forests by ensuring that stands from different ecosystem types are protected and land use objectives are met. These areas are excluded from commercial timber harvesting, which helps preserve plant ecosystems, wildlife habitat and cultural values.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Ministry of Natural Gas Development, the Oil and Gas Commission and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers all worked collaboratively to provide guidance for the establishment of these old growth management areas under the Oil and Gas Activities Act.
This project reflects the B.C. government’s ongoing commitment to protect old-growth forests, promote biodiversity and preserve valuable ecosystems for the enjoyment of all British Columbians.
- A Landscape Unit is a natural resource planning area (generally covering up to 100,000 hectares) whose boundaries are defined according to topographic or geographic features such as a watershed or a series of watersheds.
- Natural Disturbance Units are similar to Landscape Units, but they tend to be larger and their boundaries are primarily determined by historical patterns — in terms of frequency and extent — of “natural disturbances” such as wildfires, insect activity, wind, landslides and other natural events.
- There are currently about 49,000 old growth management areas in B.C., covering almost 3.1 million hectares.
- A total of about 4.5 million hectares of old-growth forest are protected within old growth management areas, provincial parks, national parks, ecological reserves, land conservancies and recreational areas in British Columbia.
- The Peace Natural Resource District encompasses over 7.5 million hectares of land in northeast B.C., of which almost three million hectares fall within the Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area.
- Currently, over 18% of the Peace Natural Resource District is designated as parks or protected areas.
- Communities in the Peace Natural Resource District include Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.
A map of B.C.’s resource districts is available online at: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/maps/regdis/regdismap.pdf
Maps and legal orders related to these old growth management areas can be viewed online at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/SLRP/legal-direction/
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations