High elevation old growth forest in the Babine Mountains near Smithers. Photo: Al Gorley from A New Future for Old Forests

Province’s response to old growth forest report falls short, says Nelson scientist

Rachel Holt says province is saving areas that don’t need protection, ignoring those that do

Nelson scientist Rachel Holt says the forest ministry’s recently announced two-year shutdown of old growth logging is mostly in areas that were already protected, had already been logged or were not slated for logging at all.

“I am baffled by that,” she says.

On Sept. 11, forest minister Doug Donaldson stated that the province was putting the brakes on logging in 350,000 hectares of old growth in nine specific areas of the province.

But the ministry’s choice of deferred areas has left Holt scratching her head.

She says only 10,000 hectares of the deferrals are old growth forests that are actually at risk.

Asked to respond, the forest ministry told the Star it is unable to comment during an election.

Donaldson’s announcement accompanied the release of the province’s report on old growth, A New Future for Old Forests, written by the two-person panel of Garry Merkel and Al Gorley after months of consultation around the province.

While Merkel and Gorley were writing their report, Holt, along with two other scientists, wrote an independent analysis of the old growth situation in the province and submitted it to them, arguing that the province has been misleading the public for years by over-counting the amount of old growth forest that actually exists.

Now that Gorley and Merkel have released their report, Holt thinks they mostly got it right but that the province’s first step in implementation is wrong.

A New Future for Old Forests states that the province has not managed old growth forests well for decades and that it has been working “under an outdated paradigm.”

It states that ecosystem health and biodiversity must become a priority.

One of the report’s dozen recommendations asks that until the province brings in a new management system, it should “defer development in old forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss.”

In response, last week the province halted logging in 350,000 hectares in specific areas of the province. But the choice of deferred areas is all wrong, Holt says.

The nine areas include the Seven Sisters region near Smithers, the Incomappleaux Valley, Crystalline Creek and Stockdale Creek watersheds in the East Kootenay, the Upper Southgate River that drains to Bute Inlet on the south coast, Skagit-Silverdaisy near the U.S. border and H’Kusam, McKelvie Creek and Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.

Related:

B.C. suspends some old-growth logging, consults communities

Province ignoring need to preserve old growth forests, says Nelson scientist



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: Brenda Haley
What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it large or actual-size to editor@trailtimes.ca

One complaint the Trail RCMP had to deal with involved laundry. Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Off the cuff calls to the Trail RCMP

Greater Trail police responded to several vehicle collisions as well as a few more usual cases

Two big 4-enders lifted the Darrin Albo rink to a 9-6 victory over Team Les Lepine in Kootenay Savings Super League action on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey.
Kootenay Savings Super League: Albo storms back for big win over Lepine

Kootenay Savings Super League curling goes every Thursday at the Trail Curling Club

poppy
Trail Legion launches poppy campaign

Trail residents can pay their respects during the two weeks up to Remembrance Day by wearing a poppy

Wreaths will already be laid around the cenotaph before people arrive at the ceremony. Photo: Chelsea Novak
Scaled-down Remembrance Day event to take place in Rossland

The public is encouraged not to attend ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 crisis

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read