British Columbia: Forest minister gives false numbers to reject forest protection

Forest Minister Pat Bell’s stance in regards to our old-growth
campaign reveals Bell’s anti-environmental instransigence backed up by
his misleading PR-spin. Based on Landsat satellite photos, there are
600,000 hectares of productive old-growth on Vancouver Island – not
900,000 hectares. Bell includes an extra 300,000 hectares of low
productivity old-growth that generally can’t be logged because the
trees are too small and stunted. The fight is not about the unloggable
stunted 300,000 hectares with small trees on granite rock faces and
mountain tops, it’s about the big trees on richer sites where most of
the biodiversity resides

. In addition, it’s not “half” of the
old-growth that is set aside in parks, but 140,000 hectares. To top it
off, there was once 2,300,000 hectares of productive old-growth on
Vancouver Island, which is the necessary context for all of this to
make sense (ie. about three-fourths of productiveold-growth is already
gone, and only 6% of the original extent of productive old-growth is
in parks). According to forest industry analysts, most forestry jobs
will be “dead” if the coastal industry doesn’t retool its mills to
handle second-growth forests which constitute most of the landbase now
– then again, the BC Liberal government seems to care little about
forestry jobs, closing mills, and ramped-up raw log exports. Their
agenda so far has been geared to serve the last of the old-growth
redcedar highgraders and companies that want to export the second- and
old-growth logs to foreign mills at the expense of BC workers and
forestry-dependent communities.

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