Jennifer Good, Associate Professor of Communication, Popular Culture and Film at Brock University; and Elin Kelsey, adjunct faculty at the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, had a piece recently published in The Globe and Mail advocating for a logo to be placed on products to let Canadians know they do not contain any materials from old-growth forests.
“Recent anti-logging protests to save the vulnerable, biodiverse old-growth Fairy Creek Watershed on Vancouver Island came as a surprise to many across Canada who assumed old growth was already protected in B.C. After all, the NDP won re-election in the province last October with a platform that included promising to protect more old growth in accordance with a major report released in September titled A New Future For Old Forests.
The report delineates that Canada’s old-growth and primary forests are under threat, and other studies corroborate such findings. For example, a 2020 study by Karen Price, Rachel Holt and Dave Daust points to the need for “immediate action” to save B.C.’s old-growth forests. The Sierra Club highlights the report’s findings, pointing out “how shockingly little is left of B.C.’s most endangered old-growth forests, in particular those with very big trees. … Only about eight per cent (approximately 415,000 hectares) of the original extent of these original forests with big trees remain as old-growth today across the province.”
The definition of an old-growth forest is complex and context-specific. In British Columbia, for example, the term “old growth” is officially defined by the age of trees in a forest using specific thresholds (often over 250 years on the coast and 140 years in the interior). The Convention of Biological Diversity offers that a primary forest is “a forest that has never been logged and has developed following natural disturbances and under natural processes, regardless of its age.” B.C.’s old-growth forests have been nearly eliminated and its primary forests are disappearing at an “extraordinary rate,” according to the World Resources Institute.”
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