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Ministry of Forests

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B.C. moves forward with Old Growth Strategic Review

The Old Growth Strategic Review, entitled A New Future for Old Forests, was released in September 2020.

Commissioned by the Province, the intent of the review was to provide guidance on old-growth management and how economic, ecological and cultural values can be realized. It was based on four months of public engagement, including 200 meetings in 45 communities, 300 written submissions, 400 published articles and papers, 9,000 emails and 18,500 surveys.

The review made 14 recommendations and included a 36-month timeline to initiate implementation.

The review did not recommend a ban on all old-growth logging. Instead, it recommended deferring development in old forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss (Recommendation 6) and adopting a three-zone forest management framework to guide planning and decision-making (Recommendation 3). The Province estimates that implementing a full, immediate ban on old-growth logging would – by permanently removing these areas from the Timber Harvesting Land Base – cause the annual allowable cut to decline by 29% and lead to 15,000 direct job losses.

The review also recognized the need for transitional supports to forestry workers and communities as they adapt to changes resulting from a new approach to managing old growth (Recommendation 14). Budget 2022 included $185 million over three years to provide co-ordinated and comprehensive supports for forestry workers, industry, communities and First Nations that may be affected by new restrictions on old-growth logging. 

Government’s vision for forestry also includes shifting the sector from a focus on high-volume to high-value production, with more innovative wood products manufactured locally and more jobs created for every tree harvested.

BC Timber Sales is engaging with industry to redesign and improve its Category 2 value-added sales program that provides fibre access to value-added facilities.

Old-growth logging numbers (rounded figures)

2015: 65,500 hectares
2016: 55,600 hectares
2017: 51,900 hectares
2018: 52,300 hectares
2019: 39,400 hectares
2020: 39,400 hectares (revised estimate)
2021: 38,300 hectares (preliminary estimate)

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