Old Growth Forests
There are about 11.1 million hectares of old growth forest in B.C. Most of B.C.’s coastal forests are considered to be old growth if they contain trees that are more than 250 years old. Some types of interior forests are considered to be old growth if they contain trees that are more than 140 years old.
British Columbia is undergoing a paradigm shift in how we manage old growth forests and is making progress on implementation of the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review in partnership with First Nations.
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The Province and First Nations across B.C. are working in partnership to defer logging of old growth while developing a new approach to sustainable forest management. Deferrals have been implemented on nearly 1.7 million hectares of old growth, including approximately 1.05 million hectares of BC’s forests most at risk of irreversible loss.
The province is committed to a new integrated management approach for old growth that provides for environmental, economic and reconciliation benefits. This approach includes:
- More inclusive and collaborative governance mechanisms
- Setting clear and measurable forest-related targets and objectives
- Continuing to manage for healthy multi-valued old forests
- Effective inclusive planning that provides clear direction
- Increased understanding and awareness through transparent and fulsome information
In 2019, the Government of B.C. embarked on this new approach to old forests, commissioning an independent panel to engage British Columbians and collect their views on the importance and future of old growth in the province. The response was clear from First Nations, communities, industry and organizations: it is time for change.
Since receiving the independent panel’s report in 2020, the province has taken decisive action to act on the Panel’s recommendations, beginning with the immediate and first priorities outlined in its report:
- Engaging the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations to review the report and work with the province on any subsequent policy or strategy development and implementation
- Identifying and temporarily deferring more old growth in collaboration with First Nations
- Addressing information gaps, updating inventory and improving public access to information
- Involving industry, workers, environmental groups, community-based organizations and local governments in discussions about the future of old growth forests
This work will set the foundation for additional priorities.