Old Growth Deferral Areas

Since September 2020, B.C. has deferred old growth harvesting in 11 areas of the province as a first step towards recommendation 6 of the independent panel report. This includes the B.C. Government's commitment to engaging, initiating or continuing discussions with Indigenous leaders.

Deferral principles:

Respect Indigenous rights and title holders

  • Final decisions on deferrals will be based on discussion between provincial government and Indigenous governments. 
  • Deferrals reflect Rights and Title issues and therefore must be at the government-to-government level.

Address areas of high risk

  • As per the report advice, deferrals will be considered “where there is highest risk to permanent biodiversity loss” including assessing if harvesting is proposed within two years.
  • Old growth objectives that don’t need immediate action will be discussed with Indigenous Nations as part of setting broader old growth objectives within traditional territory.

Last updated: June 11, 2021

On this page:

Ministerial Orders for Old Growth Designated Areas

The old growth deferral areas are established under Part 13 of the Forest Act as “designated areas” and the Act gives the authority for a Ministerial Order (MO) to direct activities within those designated areas. Designated Areas are made up of both old growth and second growth forests because old growth stands are not all adjacent and therefore attempting to specify just old growth stands in an area would be very difficult.

The purpose of the Minister's Orders is to ensure that harvesting of old growth is prohibited while the Province undertakes consultations with Indigenous leaders in the area. These are not permanent protections, but will be subject to future decisions as part of addressing the New Future for Old Forests Report recommendations as a whole.

Designations of less than 4 years do not require compensation be paid to rights holders.

List of designated areas

The list below will be updated as additional deferrals areas are identified.

The Fairy Creek watershed, located northeast of Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, is home to beautiful coastal old growth rainforest and marbled murrelet.

The Central Walbran Valley on southern Vancouver Island, located next to the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, is home to grand old-growth coastal rainforest, including majestic and culturally important western red cedar.


Clayoquot Sound: 260,578 hectares (171,726ha of old growth)

Renowned for its beauty and range of resource values, typical forests of the very wet Coastal Western Hemlock zone, with western hemlock, western red cedar, yellow cedar, balsam, berries, ferns and moss.


Crystalline Creek: 9,595 hectares (921ha of old growth)

A tributary of the south fork of the Spillimacheen River, an intact watershed with wetland complexes and old and mature forests.


H’Kusam: 1,050 hectares (590ha of old growth)

Pronounced kew-sum, this easily accessible area contains outstanding examples of culturally modified trees and intact stands of old-growth cedar.


Incomappleux Valley: 40,194 hectares (4,962ha of old growth)

Inland rainforest with intact riparian habitats, more than 250 lichen species, lowland forests and old-growth forests estimated to be between 800 and 1,500 years old.


McKelvie Creek: 2,231 hectares (1,852ha of old growth)

Intact valley of old-growth temperate rainforest and intact watershed providing rich wildlife and salmon habitat.


Seven Sisters: 4,510 hectares (2,705ha of old growth)

A complete elevation sequence of forested ecosystems, with a blend of coastal, interior and northern features, habitat for many red- and blue listed wildlife species.


Skagit-Silver Daisy: 5,745 hectares (1,486ha of old growth)

Largely intact transition forest between coastal and interior types, with species representative of both, including sub-alpine fir, western and mountain hemlock, western red and yellow cedar and Douglas fir, home to wildlife including spotted owls.


​Stockdale Creek: 11,515 hectares (1,093ha of old growth)

Old and mature forests in an intact watershed, an important wildlife corridor with high-value grizzly bear habitat.


Upper Southgate River: 17,321 hectares (9,824ha of old growth)

Coastal rainforest providing a rich habitat for wildlife and multiple species of salmon.


Note: click the map below to enlarge.

Map of Old Growth deferral areas