Two thirds of British Columbia is forest, trees far as the eye can see in every direction. So why the fuss over old growth forest? Trees grow back, right? Plant another, heck plant five and call it progress. Never mind eradication of ancient ecosystems, extinction of plants and animal species unique to old growth habitats, soil erosion or contamination of fresh water. How can anyone look at this photo without regret? Within hours of Vancouver Island resident Lorna Beecroft posting this image on Facebook, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources announced it was looking into the tree’s history. Soon thereafter, a ministry spokesperson defended the cut as legal.
According to the Ministry of Forests the tree was cut down on northern Vancouver Island sometime between March and August 2020, a month before Special Tree Protection legislation became law on September 11, 2020. ( Linked below ) In a nutshell, vaguely worded legislation purported to protect approximately 1,500 behemoth old growth trees without stepping on “big timber” toes. Ministry of Forests spokesperson feigned regret, “today, a tree of this size might well be illegal to harvest under the regulation, and fines of up to $100,000 could be imposed if it was.”
“Might” well be illegal to harvest, ought to read “large as this tree appears, it wouldn’t qualify for special protection”. According to Jens Weiting, Sierra Club BC’s senior forest and climate campaigner, Sitka Spruce less than 283 centimetres diameter at breast height don’t qualify for special protection. (283 centimetres = roughly 9.2 feet ). Maximum width of standard logging trucks is 260 Cm, Do the math. B.C. Ministry of Forests isn’t interested in saving old growth trees.
The Fairy Creek and Caycuse watersheds on Southern Vancouver Island fall under Tree Farm License 46, controlled by Teal Jones Forest Ltd. On April 1, 2021 provincial court granted Teal Jones a injunction to remove protesters obstructing access to old growth trees. As of yesterday RCMP report 137 arrests and counting. It’s going to take more than an injunction to diffuse old growth logging outrage.
Photographer TJ Watt at Photos reveal scope of old-growth forest logging in B.C. | The Narwhal lends visual perspective to the demise of old growth trees –