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states that the province has not managed old growth forests well for decades and that it has been working “under an outdated paradigm.”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

Midway RCMP say a man was filmed by a clandestine trail-camera last Spring spreading deer bait on a Rock Creek property without the owner’s permission. Photo courtesy of Midway RCMP
Midway RCMP want to interview suspected poacher

A clandestine trail-camera shows a man spreading deer bait on a Rock Creek property without permission

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters said the driver of this 2006 Honda Civic is lucky to be alive after her car landed upside down in Norwegian Creek Fri. morning, Oct. 30. Photo: Cpl. Phil Peters
Car flips into creek near Midway

Midway RCMP still investigating Friday morning’s crash which left the driver with minor injuries

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

There have been no confirmed COVID cases among SD51 students since the school year got underway Sept. 10, according to School District 51. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Student absences spiked four times in Boundary schools in October

There have been no cases of COVID-19 in district schools, says Superintendent Ken Minette

Fire Chiefs Heriot and Osellame were recognized by the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. Monday, Oct. 19. File photo
Boundary Fire Chiefs given top honour for fire service

Fire Chiefs Heriot and Osellame were recognized by the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. Monday, Oct. 19

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

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

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read