Forests

CBC News Coverage on BC's Old-Growth Forests

See the latest CBC article about the battle for old-growth forests in BC: Money Trees - The struggle over what’s ancient, giant, valuable and dwindling in B.C.’s coastal forests

Myself and Ken Wu spent two days with journalists, taking them on an old-growth bushwhack and through clearcuts on southern Vancouver Island.

*Take note of some additional relevant facts while reading:

1) Beyond their aesthetic appeal, old-growth forests offer a host of values that second-growth tree plantations do not. They support unique and endangered species that can't flourish in second-growth (like spotted owls and mountain caribou) and are vital for tourism, clean water, wild salmon, carbon storage, and many First Nations cultures.

2) Almost the entire western world is only logging second or third-growth forests. We can and should make the full, inevitable transition to a second-growth forest industry BEFORE the last of the unprotected old-growth is logged...and quickly.

3) The BC government’s and logging industry’s stats on the status of old-growth are deceptive. Of the 520,000 hectares of old-growth that the BC government says are off-limits to logging on Vancouver Island, less than 200,000 hectares are considered productive old-growth forests and are commercially valuable. The rest consists of stands with much smaller, stunted trees at higher elevations, on steep rocky slopes, and in bogs that lack the species richness and large trees of the productive forests. Almost 79% of the productive old-growth forests on Vancouver Island have already been logged - about 1.6 million hectares out of 2 million hectares originally. For stats and maps visit https://bit.ly/2QHJAvo

4) Independent, family operated mills are not representative of the coastal forest industry. Many have been forced to close due to increases in log exports, corporate concentration, and the depletion of the biggest, best, accessible stands of ancient trees over the past 20 years. Western Forest Products, Island Timberlands, TimberWest, Teal-Jones…these are overwhelmingly the companies responsible for the vast majority of the cut on Vancouver Island.

5) The “forestry workers who want jobs vs. environmentalists who love big trees” is largely a tired old division of the 1980’s and 90’s that we have worked hard as conservationists to bridge the gap on. One of the main forestry unions, the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC), representing thousands of Vancouver Island sawmill and pulp mill workers, have called for an end to old-growth logging on Vancouver Island and we’ve worked closely with forestry workers to end raw log exports, ensure a value-added second-growth forestry transition, and to save old-growth for almost two decades now.

6) Economic studies have shown that old-growth forests have a greater economic value standing than for logging when factoring in tourism, clean water and fisheries, non-timber forest products like wild mushrooms and berries, carbon value, and recreational value in southern BC. This is more true today than ever. Port Renfrew and Tofino are shining examples of communities whose economies have vastly benefited from standing, living ancient forests.

CBC Kids News: Should old-growth forests be protected? This photo gallery features some of my images of big trees and giant stumps as well.

The stump from a 300+ year old Sitka spruce tree cut near Hadikin Lake on Vancouver Island.

Hiking the Wild Side Trail on Flores Island

It's been a crazy summer with more adventures than ever and I have quite the backlog of photos to share but to start, here are some pics from a recent hiking trip along the Wild Side Trail on Flores Island - one of the most beautiful places on Earth! If you have 3 days, it's hard to think of a more rewarding place to visit. Located just north of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound, the trail's 11km length winds you along stunning coastlines, through amazing ancient forests, and ends at the long, sandy beaches of Cow Bay. Wildlife such as wolves, cougars, and bears are found here along with the rich cultural history of the Ahousaht First Nation, who still call the island home. You can catch a boat to Flores from Tofino for $20 through this water taxi and support the Ahousaht Nation - who's Land Use Plan Vision declares for more than 80% of their traditional territory to be protected from industrial activity - by paying the small trail and camping fee. Happy hiking!

25 Years after the War in the Woods: Why B.C.’s forests are still in crisis

Take a few minutes to read this new, in-depth article by good friend and filmmaker Daniel J Pierce on the crisis in BC's forests and where we need to head. Comments from Valerie Langer, Adam Olsen, Arnold Bercov, Vicky Husband, Herb Hammond, and Ken Wu. It also features some of my photos from across Vancouver Island. Article: https://thenarwhal.ca/25-years-after-clayoquot-sound-blockades-the-war-in-the-woods-never-ended-and-its-heating-back-up/