Old growth in the Lardeau Valley. “There is basically nothing left like this anywhere, but most valley bottoms in the Kootenays were once like this,” says Dr. Rachel Holt of Veridian Ecological Consulting. Photo: Rachel Holt

Old growth in the Lardeau Valley. “There is basically nothing left like this anywhere, but most valley bottoms in the Kootenays were once like this,” says Dr. Rachel Holt of Veridian Ecological Consulting. Photo: Rachel Holt

Scientists release maps of B.C. old growth forests, urge province to stop cutting

Report contains detailed maps of 2.6 per cent of the forested land in B.C.

A Nelson-based company has published a series of maps showing forests that the government’s own old growth panel recommended should not be logged until more planning is done.

Dr. Rachel Holt of Veridian Ecological Consultants said in a May 19 news release that the company developed and published the maps because the province did not do so, even though its own old growth panel recommended such mapping. Meanwhile, old growth logging continues, she said.

The provincial old growth panel’s report, A New Future for Old Forests, authored by foresters Garry Merkel and Al Gorley and published in April 2020, emphasized the need to halt cutting old trees and stop prioritizing timber supply over ecological values.

Holt says that has not happened. In an earlier report published in September, her company wrote that a forest ministry announcement of two-year shutdown of old growth logging, in response to the publication of A New Future for Old Forests, turned out to apply selectively to areas that were already protected, had already been logged, or were not slated for logging at all.

“In the last year, old growth forests that should have been protected have been logged due to a lack of clarity on the data and maps,” Holt said.

The government’s old growth panel recommended that until a new old growth strategy is implemented, the province should “defer development in old forest where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible loss.”

Dave Daust, a forester and the project lead for the Veridian report, says the company’s new mapping will help the government do this.

“(Our mapping) represents the key criteria that the old growth panel outlined for immediate logging deferrals, including the tallest, largest forests, plus rare and ancient forest.”

The company has identified a total area of about 2.6 per cent of the forested land in B.C.

Veridian’s maps can be found at https://veridianecological.ca/old-growth-resilience/.

Asked to comment on Veridian’s maps, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in an email, said they are currently analyzing the maps.

“Our initial observation is that this map takes a different approach to the identification of old growth areas for possible deferral than was recommended by the old growth strategic review panel,” the email states without elaborating on the nature of the difference.

Holt is critical of the provincial government for what she calls inaction in a time of an old growth crisis.

“This government has a history of starting out to do the right thing, but then getting cold feet and looking only through a timber supply lens when they make decisions,” she said.

Veridian Consultants said it developed maps and wrote its report on its own initiative, not sponsored by any group or agency.

Related:

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

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

In the forest, a Nelson scientist discovers trees take care of their own



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

forestry

Just Posted

Little Brown Bat, Cori Lausen image
Puntledge River bats being studied

Scientists will be monitering bat activity in the Puntlesge River Watershed this… Continue reading

A 30x40 ft boat/car shop in the Little River area near Wilkinson Road was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived on scene. Photo by Comox Fire Rescue
Comox firefighters battle ‘showy’ shop fire Saturday night

Smoke could be seen throughout the Comox Valley

ROAM Media’s Ian Adams designed the label for the new honey ale. Image supplied
Church St., Ace combine on a true Comox Valley brew

The taphouse has Home Buoy on tap, and it’s also in cans

The finish line! Huband held a ‘Colour Run’ Friday to celebrate what’s been a different school year. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley school lets its colours run

Huband Elementary wanted a way to bring kids together

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Most Read