Together with representatives from tourism businesses and local government, Sierra Club BC and German environmental organization Rainforest Rescue called for an end to the ongoing clearcutting of Vancouver Island’s last endangered ancient rainforest. (Keri Coles/News staff)

International call for action to save B.C.’s old-growth rainforests

Petition with 185,000 signatures delivered to B.C. Legislature

As part of an international call for action, the voices of 185,000 people from around the world were heard Thursday at the B.C. Legislature, when a petition calling for the protection of B.C.’s old-growth forests was delivered to the government.

Together with representatives from tourism businesses and local government, Sierra Club BC and German environmental organization Rainforest Rescue called for an end to the ongoing clearcutting of Vancouver Island’s last endangered ancient rainforest.

“The ongoing destruction undermines the positive image of Canada internationally,” said Mathias Rittgerott, spokesperson with Rainforest Rescue. “Protecting rare old-growth forests is a crucial step in fighting global warming and saving habitat of endangered species. There is no price tag for the value of these forests.”

READ ALSO: ‘Stunning grove’ of unprotected old-growth trees located near Port Renfrew

Sent to Premier John Horgan and Forest Minister Doug Donaldson, the petition calls on the provincial government to “impose an immediate moratorium on the logging of intact forests in hotspots such as the Central Walbran and other valuable areas on Vancouver Island and the mainland.”

Ministerial assistant Tim Renneberg accepted the petition on behalf of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Most of the concerned citizens who signed the petition are from Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Australia and Argentina.

READ ALSO: Province not rushing to extinguish old growth chainsaws anytime soon

Local political support for the call came from Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and councillor-elect for the City of Victoria Laurel Collins who joined the group on the steps of the legislature.

“We can produce high quality, high value wood and good jobs while protecting watersheds and our climate with strong forest stewardship and improved forest management,” said Collins.

The ongoing harvesting of the globally rare, endangered old-growth rainforests worries Island tourism operators and experts as well, who say the destruction jeopardizes B.C.’s tourism economy.

“Opportunities to experience old-growth forests are increasingly rare in B.C. and particularly on Vancouver Island. Tourism businesses built around these experiences are sustainable year after year. The lack of consideration and foresight for other economic uses of these resources is a significant concern,” said Scott Benton of the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC.

“Tourists come to Vancouver Island to experience what is missing in so many other parts of the world: intact nature,” echoed Brian White, professor at Royal Roads University School of Tourism and Hospitality. “And yet what they find when they get here is big stumps, not big trees. We’re concerned about the impact on tourism businesses.”

The NDP’s 2017 election platform included a commitment to act for old-growth, promising to take “an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.”

The group is asking the government to follow through on that promise.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

rainforest

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

Just Posted

Elder College going online with dozens of courses this fall

There are 16 courses in the September session

Thanksgiving Food Drive coming to your door in Cowichan

Next week will be your chance to help meet the food crisis

Cowichan Community Centre Elder College celebrates 20th anniversary

Volunteer instructors are the key to success.

Flashback: Teddy bears, dinosaurs, cougars, oh my!

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

Drivesmart column: Clear your frosty windows BEFORE driving

85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes.

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

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

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Most Read