An aerial view looking down into an old growth forest. (

Media Contacts

Ministry of Forests, Lands,

Natural Resource Operations
and Rural Development
Media Relations
250 213-8172

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Media Relations
250 953-3834


B.C.’s actions on old growth

B.C. released “A New Future for Old Forests,” the report of the strategic review panel on old growth, in September 2020 and has begun to implement its 14 recommendations. Actions to date include:

As a first step, government engaged with the First Nations Leadership Council to discuss the report and begin work on the approach for Recommendation 1: “Engage the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations to review this report and any subsequent policy or strategy development and implementation.”

In response to Recommendation 6: “Until a new strategy is implemented, defer development in old forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss,” harvest has been deferred in 11 areas of old growth throughout B.C. The most recent deferrals include those in the Fairy Creek watershed and central Walbran area, initiated at the request of the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Work is ongoing to identify additional deferral areas throughout the province.

Recommendations 1 and 6, as outlined above, are underway as are Recommendation 5 regarding public information and Recommendation 7, which addresses compliance with existing requirements.

Key timelines for addressing the recommendations of the old growth independent panel report can be found online:

This work is leading to a new old growth strategy for British Columbia that is part of a paradigm shift for forest management in British Columbia. The old growth strategy is expected to be completed in 2023.

Learn More:

To see the old growth strategy, visit:

Members of the Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel

Garry Merkel 

Merkel is a member of the Tahltan Nation in northwest British Columbia. He is a registered professional forester with over 45 years of experience in the field, management, academic, research and community aspects of forest and land management. He has also worked in many fields, some of which include organizational development, community development, business development and management, governance, community-based land management and education. Merkel was a member of the two-person independent panel that reviewed B.C.’s old growth strategy.

Rachel F. Holt (PhD) 

Holt is an independent ecologist based in Nelson on the unceded territory of the Sinixt, Ktunaxa and Okanagan Nations’ peoples. She has worked on the ecology and management of old growth forest from many angles over the last 25 years, from defining indices of old growth in the field in the 1990s, to policy, planning and cumulative effects assessments for the Province of B.C. and First Nations in a wide variety of ecosystems. Holt was on the board of the Forest Practices Board for six years and vice-chair for two of those. Her goal is to bring transparency to the use of data and science in land management issues in B.C. Holt runs her own one-woman consulting company, Veridian Ecological:

Lisa Matthaus 

Matthaus is the provincial lead for Organizing for Change and based on the unceded territory of the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. She has worked on B.C. forest policy and climate issues for 25 years, including key discussions that led to ecosystem-based management in the Great Bear Rainforest land use agreements and the negotiation of the initial Forest Stewardship Council standards for British Columbia. She has an M.Sc. in environmental and resource economics.

Karen Price (PhD) 

Price is an independent ecologist based near Smithers B.C. on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory. Price has worked on old growth and land-use policy for 25 years, aiming to bring science and transparency to decisions. She focuses on how to maintain ecological resilience given cumulative effects of management and climate. Peer-reviewed publications address old growth species from epiphytic lichens to stream insects and birds, forest structure, ecosystem-based management and the status of B.C.’s old growth.

Dave Daust 

Daust (M.Sc., RPF) is a landscape analyst based near Smithers on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory. Daust’s background includes harvest design, silviculture and ecosystem-based woodlot management. For three decades, he has designed approaches for assessing impacts of human activities on forest biodiversity and on focal species—including caribou, grizzly bears, goshawks, marten and salmon—for Indigenous and provincial governments. In the past decade, he has incorporated climate change into assessments and recommendations.