We do need the facts on old growth in B.C.
Re: Bob Brash’s letter that we need the facts on forestry.
Yes Mr Brash, we do need the facts. It is true that there are about 13.2 million hectares of old growth forest in B.C. as defined by age. However, much of this old growth is comprised of small trees such as black spruce that have little value to the forestry industry. Importantly, there are only 380,000 hectares left of what the public generally views as old growth forest, i.e., forests with trees taller than 20 metres. And of these iconic old growth forests, there are only 35,000 hectares left with trees taller than 25 metres. These are the iconic old growth forests that impact the public imagination. All old growth forests are important for biodiversity: both the old growth that has little commercial value as well as the iconic tall tree old growth.
Over the past several decades iconic old growth forests have been logged in the name of saving forestry jobs. Has it? In 2009, according to Statistics Canada, there were 93,479 forestry-related jobs in B.C. Between 2009 and 2019 forestry-related jobs in B.C. have decreased by the following numbers: Forestry & Logging — 6,565; Pulp & Paper — 10,596; Support Activities for Forestry — 11,262; Wood Product Manufacturing — 14,457. Thus, 42,880 in forestry-related jobs have been lost while we were busy clear-cutting iconic old growth forests. I also note that between 1997 and 2017 the raw logs exported has increased from 0.2 million cubic metres to 6.5 million cubic metres, a more than 32-fold increase.
Paul Slade is right, the millions of dollars the province spent on the RCMP enforcing the injunction could easily have covered the compensation to Teal Jones. Processing the second growth raw logs locally rather than having them exported will easily compensate the jobs lost from stopping the harvesting of iconic old growth forests.