Old-growth forests are diverse: from wet rainforests with towering, mossy Sitka spruce trees and gnarly red cedars with trunks wider than a car's length; to dry forests with contorted Garry oak and arbutus trees and massive Douglas-firs; to high elevation, slow-growing yellow cedars and mountain hemlocks covered in beard lichens.
These ancient forests provide essential habitat for endangered wildlife such as the spotted owl and marbled murrelet. They also contain the world's largest Douglas-fir tree (the Red Creek Fir) and second-largest western red cedar tree (the Cheewhat Cedar).
We are calling on the BC government to ban the logging of the remaining ancient forests, all of which are on Indigenous lands. Second-growth forests should be the sole supplier of the province's lumber mills and should be logged at a slower, more sustainable rate than they are now. To protect the wood supply for BC's lumber mills, log exports to off-shore mills must be halted.
Other jurisdictions, including New Zealand, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Finland have banned old-growth logging in recent years. BC must now do the same.
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When journalists interview me about old-growth forests, the hardest question to answer is “what is it like to be in one?” Standing in undergrowth so dense it’s hard to walk through with beams of sunlight piercing the tops of trees that were hundreds of years old before Europeans even arrived on this continent — how do you put this feeling into words?