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Posted: December 18, 2021

B.C. needs to rethink old growth deferral process

Letter to the Editor

At Canfor, we’re proud to have been operating in the province for over 80 years.

We take our role very seriously to help responsibly manage B.C’.s forests. Like all British Columbians, we want our forests to be diverse, thriving ecosystems. We employ hundreds of professionals, like foresters and biologists, who work hard every day to ensure our activities are environmentally responsible and will contribute to healthy forests for generations to come.

Around the world B.C. is respected for our leading sustainable harvesting and forest management practices. We follow rigorous environmental standards and get permits from the government for all of our activities
we undertake in the forest. B.C.’s Chief Forester sets the volume of trees that can be harvested. Each year this amounts to less than 1% of the harvestable area. We also plant three trees for each one that is harvested.

In addition, we greatly respect the rights and title of First Nations on whose traditional territories we operate and their valued roles in stewarding the forests.

That’s why we’re deeply concerned that the B.C. government has decided to defer 2.6 million hectares of old forests based on the advice of only five people. Government has not engaged with a broad group of Indigenous leaders, labour leaders, forest professionals and communities. Many important voices have been left out of this critical discussion.

Industry estimates that nearly 18,000 workers could be impacted. These are good people from communities across the province who care about the future and the environment in the place they call home. We directly employ over 4,000 people in BC. The more than 2,000 contractors, suppliers and Indigenous companies we partner with also employ thousands of people who work in the forest sector and, along with their families, contribute to our local communities.

This should be a time for unity. We can choose a path that brings First Nations, labour leaders, forestry professionals and communities together to develop a sustainable old growth management plan that protects our forests and ensures sustainable employment for our communities. We can build on the 75% of old growth forests that are already protected or outside harvesting areas.

To develop that plan, we are asking government, on behalf of our employees, Indigenous partners, contractors and communities, to immediately take the following steps:

  1. Use the facts, based on objective and transparent science and Indigenous traditional knowledge, to identify potential old growth areas and deferrals.
  2. Undertake a collaborative process that includes Indigenous leaders, labour leaders, forest professionals and communities to develop the old growth plan.

As the world comes together to fight climate change, carbon- storing, renewable forestry products from B.C.’s sustainably managed forests are in growing demand. This is B.C.’s opportunity to help support the transition to a low carbon world. Now more than ever, the world needs B.C.’s forestry products. And that’s something we can each be proud of.

Let’s work together!

Don Kayne,

President & CEO Canfor

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