Old Growth report released

On September 11th the Province announced the release of A New Future for Old Forests: What we Heard. The report by panel members Al Gorley and Gary Merkel, outlines a four-phased process that the Province should undertake to develop and implement an old growth strategy. 

Of the 14 recommendations within the report, the government indicated it is taking initial actions on the following recommendations to formulate an old growth strategy:

  • engaging the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations to review the report and work with the Province on any subsequent policy or strategy development and implementation;
  • deferring old forest harvesting in nine areas throughout the province totalling 352,739 hectares as a first step, and committing to engaging, initiating or continuing discussions with Indigenous leaders;
  • beginning work to address information gaps, update inventory and improve public access to information, and bring management of old forests into compliance with existing provincial targets and guidelines; and
  • involving industry, environmental groups, community-based organizations and local governments in discussions regarding the report recommendations and the future of old-growth forests in B.C., and the social, economic and environmental implications for communities.

UBCM made a submission to the Panel in February 2020 sharing UBCM member policy on the matter. The latter bullet noted above is of specific interest, as it notes that local governments will be involved in discussions as the Province moves forward with the development of a new strategy. The UBCM’s Community Economic Development Committee will be monitoring the implementation of the report recommendations as part of its ongoing work on the forestry file.

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