The Province and BC’s First Nations are working together to defer old growth logging, while developing a new approach to sustainable forest management.
According to the province, deferrals have been implemented in nearly 1.7 million hectares of old growth.
The province announced in November it would engage with First Nations and titleholders to find an agreement on deferring harvest of old growth forests.
“Historically, the people of what is now Canim Lake Band relied mostly on caribou as one of our main food sources,” said Canim Lake Band Councillor Carl Archie.
“There were vast herds, and the Canim Lake people protected theses herd with our blood and lives.”
“Where there were vast herds numbering in the thousands as far as the eye could see, they now hover near 100 animals in the Wells Gray Park. The decline is largely blamed on habitat loss from logging, taking with them our way of life and our cultural knowledge.”
According to the province, responses were received from 188 of 204 First Nations in BC:
- 75 BC First Nations have agreed to defer harvest of at-risk old growth in their territory.
- Seven have indicated they are opposed to any deferrals in their territory.
- 11 First Nations have either no old growth, or no commercial forestry in their territory.
- More than 60 have requested more time to decide, including time to incorporate local and Indigenous knowledge.
As a result of these engagements, deferrals have been implemented on around 1.05 million hectares of BC’s most at-risk old growth.
“Forestry is a foundation of the BC economy, and good jobs that support families and communities across our province,” said Katrine Conroy, BC’s Minister of Forests.
“While we are moving forward with deferrals, we are also ensuring that no one is left behind.”
Budget 2022 is providing $185 million over three years to provide supports for forestry workers, industry, communities and First Nations impacted by deferrals.
Conroy added they will also be striking a Forestry Workers Supports and Community Resilience Council to advise the government on these programs.
The council will include labour, industry, Indigenous, and municipal leaders, and will ensure these programs are targeted and providing supports where they’re needed most.
-Files by Darin Bain, My Prince George Now