BC Forestry

Two-thirds of BC’s land base – 60 million hectares – is covered in trees. Only about 22 million hectares of this vast forest was ever suitable for logging, and much of this has already been logged.

These logged forests once harboured the biggest trees and the best wildlife habitat in BC. Now, big stumps mark where the great giants once stood tall.

Plantations, where second-growth trees were planted after the original wild forest was logged, are now growing throughout much of BC. Some areas are being logged for the second time.

Fortunately, some wild, never-logged forests still remain.

Known by many names – including old-growth, natural, frontier, ancient, first growth or original – these forests were tended by nature, not people. In British Columbia, a debate is now raging about what to do with these precious remaining wild forests. Globally, only a little over 20% of the world’s original wild forests still exist.

British Columbia is Canada’s most biologically diverse province and has the most species at risk of extinction. In BC, 64% of reptiles and turtles, 58% of ferns, 46% of (dicot) plants and 45% of amphibians are currently at risk.

BC is home to about half of Canada’s total grizzly bear population, and to more bird species than any other province in the country, with over 500 bird species including more than 300 breeding species.

The sad fact is that over 1,900 species found in BC are “at risk”, and in many instances it's because of the continued logging of their wild forest habitat. To make matters worse, climate change has also impacted our forests. More than 9 million hectares of forest lands, mostly on BC’s central plateau, have been hit by the pine beetle epidemic and other pests due to warming winters and forest mismanagement.

Near the rain-drenched Pacific coast of BC, unlogged valley bottoms are home to giant rainforest trees such as Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir that can sometimes reach over 80 metres in height. Red cedar trees can be as much as 18 metres in girth, and live well over 1,000 years. Unfortunately, on Vancouver Island, over 90% of these valley bottom ancient forests have already been logged.

The dry rainshadow wild forests of Ponderosa pine in the south Okanagan are some of the rarest wild forests in BC. Yet less than 5% of this forest type has any kind of protection from logging or development.

Then there are the wet Inland Rainforests of spruce, hemlock and huge red cedars in the Robson Valley and Kootenay country, which support the mountain caribou – an endangered species that relies on these forests for survival. Even here, some of these critical wild forests continue to be open to logging.

You would think that with all this logging going on, timber workers and their communities would be prospering. But nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because since 2003 the big logging companies in BC, who used to be obligated by the provincial government to operate lumber mills within the province, are now no longer required to do so.

Raw log exports from public and private forestlands in coastal BC have been going up – way up. Between 2000 and 2007, annual log exports to mills in other countries have risen by 75%! This increase amounted to 57,714 highway truckloads of logs, enough wood to keep two sizeable BC sawmills supplied for a whole year.

It’s time to take action to ban the logging of wild forests and ban log exports, so logs from the tree plantations can be milled right here in BC.

Read these BC government forestry reports 

Recent Developments

4 weeks 5 days ago
It was a local hiker who noticed, during a backwoods stroll in May 2012, the remains of the body. The victim in question: an 800-year-old cedar tree.
5 weeks 5 days ago
The last parcels of private land along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail will be bought by the provincial government and preserved for public use and treaty settlements.
6 weeks 18 min ago
  Location: Wah-nuh-jus—Hilthoois (Meares Island) is in Clayoquot Sound, just offshore from Tofino amongst sparkling inlets and snow-capped mountain peaks.

Take Action

We’re sending off 2016 with a kick on #WalbranWednesday

Call your MLA

After several setbacks this year from the Kinder Morgan pipeline decision, to the ongoing destruction in the Peace River Valley for the Site C dam, it’s easy to feel like your voice doesn’t matter.

It does.

More than ever you are part of the thin green line that must never ever give up.

On Dec 7, it’s the ancient forests of the Walbran Valley calling for our help. To date, no logging has been done on the intact north bank of the Walbran River, and the valley has become a major catalyst in recharging the conversation against ending old-growth logging on Vancouver Island.

That’s why our final #WW of the year, we’re going big!

The continued foot-dragging from our provincial lawmakers is unacceptable, so this #WalbranWednesday we’re targeting every MLA in BC!

Make the call >>

Protect old-growth forests on Vancouver Island

During this year's Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention (September 26-30), delegates – mayors and councillors from across the province – were set to vote on a motion to oppose old-growth logging.

The motion was brought forward by Metchosin council, and has already been passed at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) earlier this year.

But in the lead-up to the convention, the UBCM resolutions committee decided that old-growth logging is a regional issue and should be dealt with as such by regional bodies like the AVICC.

The endangered old-growth on Vancouver Island and the South Coast, is an issue that impacts all of BC, and councillors from Metchosin and other municipalities know it. At the UBCM convention they will fight to have the motion discussed and voted on at the convention, and they need your support!

This is a huge opportunity for municipal leaders to formally stand together and state the simple fact that old-growth logging has no place in healthy communities.

This is the official motion that they’ll be championing:

C27   Protection of Old-growth Forests
Whereas old-growth forest is increasingly rare on Vancouver Island, and is gone for centuries once logged;

And whereas old-growth forest has significant economic, social and environmental value as wildlife habitat, tourism resource, carbon sink and much more;

And whereas current plans on provincial Crown land call for logging the remaining old-growth forest, outside of protected areas, Old-Growth Management Areas, and similar reserves, over the next 10-20 years:

Therefore be it resolved that the old-growth forest on provincial Crown Land on Vancouver Island be protected from logging;

And be it further resolved that AVICC send a letter to the provincial government—Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations—as well as relevant government organizations requesting that the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan be amended to protect all of Vancouver Island's remaining old growth forest on provincial Crown land.

Our municipal leaders need our encouragement to:

a) support the adoption of the motion above as an official resolution, and

b) endorse this motion when it goes to a vote. 

    Send your mayor and councillors a message today and encourage them to do the right thing for BC!

    Points to consider in your message:

    • Old-growth forests provide cultural resources utilized by First Nations since time immemorial that are not found in second-growth forests.
    • Old-growth forests provide habitat for several endangered and at-risk species, some of which only live in ancient rainforest.
    • Old-growth forests store more carbon than younger forests – it an era when climate change is the single biggest crisis facing humanity, we have a moral responsibility to protect old-growth.
    • Around 90 per cent of Vancouver Island’s old-growth forest has already been logged, and an immediate halt to old-growth logging is required to ensure the survival of these ecosystems.
    • Vancouver Island municipalities and the BC Chamber of Commerce have already passed motions opposing continued old-growth logging – businesses and communities know that sustainable second-growth forestry is the only future for this industry!
    • Old-growth rainforests are integral to BC’s “super, natural” reputation, and the protection of ancient rainforests will benefit all municipalities in BC.

    Send your email today

    Photo: Unprotected Castle Giant (Shane Johnson)

    Let's save the Summit Lake toads!

    Write now!

    The Wilderness Committee received a call January 20, 2017 from our allies on the ground near Nakusp BC. Logging has started in Summit Lake toad habitat.

    We have to stop this. 

    Summit Lake is one of the key breeding areas in BC for the western toad. The region was featured in our Toad People documentary launched in November 2016. Millions of tiny toadlets hatch in the water at Summit Lake and travel to the surrounding forest, where they spend the majority of their lifecycle in what is one of nature’s great animal migrations.

    This population is so significant that the BC government invested $750,000  on research and a toad tunnel to protect the toads as they cross a busy highway during their migration to their forest habitat.

    Only a small area of the forest must be protected to preserve 95 per cent of core toad habitat – a mere six per cent of the public forest tenure controlled by NACFOR, the forestry operation in the area.

    With your help, the Wilderness Committee has been working to support local allies in the fight to save this woodland habitat. Despite these efforts, NACFOR started logging on Friday, January 20.

    Now, it’s up to the  provincial government to stop this habitat destruction. And that’s where you come in.

    If the toads are worth protecting — to the tune of three-quarters of a million taxpayer dollars — from cars on the highway, surely they’re worth protecting from a clearcut!

    Please spend five minutes writing Premier Clark to insist she halt this habitat destruction!

    Photo: Western toadlet on the road between Summit Lake and its forest habitat (Kerri Martin)

    Save the Walbran Valley: Ancient forests forever!

    Write a letter now!

    Globally important old-growth rainforest in the Walbran Valley is at risk, and we need urgent action to protect it!

    Last fall, after finding new surveying tape in the unprotected central Walbran Valley, we contacted logging company Teal Jones to ask what its plans were. We stressed the ecological importance and scarcity of old-growth forests, and we asked that the company select another location in its large forest tenure.

    Then, Teal Jones sent us a map that showed eight new cutblocks on the north side of the Walbran Riverthe most extensive valley-bottom old-growth stand in the entire Walbran Valley. The company has completely disregarded our request and is now targeting one of the last contiguous intact old-growth forests on southern Vancouver Island.

    Cutting down 1,000-year-old trees and destroying the intact ecosystems that support them is an archaic practice that must end. Our provincial government has a duty to step up and protect what little remains, in a way that works for ecosystems and ensures First Nations’ access to traditional resources.

    Teal Jones is choosing to re-ignite the War in the Woods, but the provincial government has the power to stop this. And it’s up to us to pressure them to do so.

    Please write your letter now and demand that Premier Christy Clark deny permits for old-growth logging in the Walbran Valley.

    Click here to write your letter now >>

    Grassroots campaigning and public pressure have a history of success when it comes to protecting old-growth forests. The Carmanah Valley and a portion of the Walbran were protected in 1993, after a fierce Wilderness Committee campaign and support from concerned citizens like you.

    We can do this again, and protect what’s left of the Walbran Valley’s ancient forest. 


    Photo: Teal Jones clearcut in the Walbran Valley (WC Files)

    It's Time for the BC Government to Ban Raw Log Exports

    Write a letter now!

    The export of raw logs is a crisis in BC. Despite outcry from forest communities, unions, policy experts, political leaders, environmental groups and thousands of citizens, this controversial practice has reach record levels in recent years.

    The spike in raw log exports, facilitated by the BC government, has been a disaster for BC’s environment and our forest economy.

    The province – and especially the coast – has seen dozens of mill closures and thousands of lost jobs. BC is the only province that exports raw logs in large volumes, and as a result, it has less jobs and creates the less value per tree harvested than any other province in Canada.

    We’re sending trees, money and jobs out of BC – and we’re doing it at a faster rate than ever before. If we put the logs we exported in a single year onto logging trucks and lined those trucks up end to end, they would stretch from Vancouver to Thunder Bay, Ontario!

    This is a problem that our provincial government has a responsibility to address.

    So far, it’s been municipal governments that have shown leadership on raw log exports.

    The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) is a body comprised of the mayors, councillors and regional directors for all cities, towns and districts on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Discovery Islands and the Sunshine Coast. In April 2015, the AVICC passed a resolution to call on the provincial government to re-examine raw log export policy.

    This local government pressure is important, but now it’s critical that we let our provincial leaders know that we stand behind this call for action on the raw log export crisis!

    Please take action today: tell our provincial policymakers to honour the call from forest industry workers, municipal governments, environmental groups and concerned citizens and ban raw log exports once and for all!

    You can write a letter now urging the BC government and opposition party members to take action on our forest policy and ban raw log exports in BC!

    More info:


    Photo: Raw logs on the Fraser River, ready for export. (Paul Joseph via Flickr)

    No logging trucks through Sasquatch Provincial Park

    Write a letter!

    Tamihi Logging Co. has partnered with the Seabird Island Band to apply for a boundary adjustment at BC's Sasquatch Provincial Park, near Harrison Hot Springs, in order to enable logging trucks to travel through the park for access to a nearby proposed logging area.

    Surprisingly, as part of the public consultation process regarding removal of lands from parks and protected areas, it's the proponents (such as logging or pipeline companies) who are responsible for holding public meetings and gauging feedback – not BC Parks. 

    Right now, BC's provincial parks are facing serious threats. Logging companies, mining companies and oil pipeline companies are all eyeing our provincial parks and applying for their own “park boundary adjustments”. And a recently passed law – Bill 4 – makes it easier for them to do so.

    Community members near Sasquatch Park are outraged about the scheme to adjust the park boundary to allow logging trucks to pass through. They are bound and determined to protect the park and keep those trucks out.

    To read more about the issue, click here to check out yesterday’s article from the Georgia Straight. 

    Unfortunately, the BC government has made it difficult to even comment on this terrible logging road proposal. There is almost no information on the BC Parks website about the proposal, and nothing about how to provide comment to the parks ministry.

    That’s why I am asking you to write to BC’s Minister of the Environment, Mary Polak and ask her to not to adjust the boundary of Sasquatch Provincial Park to allow logging truck traffic in this popular protected area.

    Click here to write your letter today >>

    Thanks for standing up for BC’s parks!


    Photo: Deer Lake, Sasquatch Provincial Park (Gwen Barlee)

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