Old Growth Forests Still Need Protection
2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the Clayoquot Sound blockades and protests against the logging of old growth forests. During that time of what is often referred to as the “War in the Woods”, Friends of Clayoquot Sound led the organizing on the ground. While much of the protested logging area has been spared from logging, a clear system of protection is still lacking.
In 2020 – for the 1st time in colonial history – the B.C. government announced the deferral of logging in over 350,000 hectares of forests provincially, including 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound. With the logging deferral in place until 2024, there is now the opportunity for the Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht Nations to establish Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) within their unceded territories.
Prior to the current deferral period, the B.C. government’s outdated forestry system required the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations’ owned forestry company, MaMook, to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fees for Tree Farm Licenses to the B.C. government for the ‘rights to log’ in their own territories. This meant that the local Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations had to log the old growth trees within their territories to pay the B.C. government which prevented other corporations from once again acquiring the Tree Farm Licenses and resuming more aggressive logging, like in 1993. Considering this representation of the B.C. forestry system, it makes sense how this economic exploitation is leading to further environmental destruction.
Yet today, the unrealized opportunity for old growth forests within B.C. is for reconciliation based protection. Now more than ever, protecting ancient rainforests is critical to defend the biosphere from the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Large conservation investments for Indigenous communities from governments and philanthropists are necessary. Through conservation investment, Indigenous Nations can be paid to uphold their traditional culture values and protect their territories, instead of being paid to assimilate to the exploitative, colonial system of extractive logging for the benefit of the few.
6 Actions We Can Take for Old Growth Forests
Support Indigenous led protection camps and actions on the ground.
Organize local solidarity actions on September 14 (read Page 3 for more info).
Call / send email to the Premier, Ministers, and local MLAs.
Premier David Eby / 250-387-1715 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest Minister Bruce Ralston / 250-387-6240 / email@example.com
Environment Minister George Heyman / 250-387-1187 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Stewardship Minister Nathan Cullen / 250-953-0900 / email@example.com
Climate Readiness Minster Bowinn Ma / 250-387-3655 / bowinn.ma.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Low Carbon Innovation Minister & Mid Island Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne
/ 250-720-4515 / firstname.lastname@example.org