Old growth forests in Canada are under threat from logging. Activists have decided to put a stop on this. Earlier this month, environmental group Old Growth Revylution set up barricades and blocked the only access road to an important old growth rainforest in southeastern British Columbia. Argonaut Valley is home to a 230 square-mile forest. The area has 14 cutblocks, although the province deferred logging in 11 of them last November.
Old Growth Revylution blocked access to three new cutblocks in the area. While these cutblocks weren’t in operation yet, logging activities were already set to get underway later this summer. The group’s goal was to stop timber operations on old-growth trees. Their importance is simply unmeasurable, as old-growth forests are rich in biodiversity and also play a very important role in the fight against climate change. However, they also hold a high commercial value because of their high-end wood. As it usually happens, the economic factor took precedence over any potential environmental problems.
In 2020, British Columbia Timber Sales (BCTS for short) built new access roads to these cutblocks in old-growth areas. These new threats prompted the creation of Old Growth Revylution, which has now raised awareness about this important environmental problem. Their blockade produced successful results. Downie Timber, operating under a license issued by BCTS, has already announced that it won’t log in the area.
This time, we will take a look at the importance of British Columbia old growth forests, and how its destruction has led to serious problems. Join us at Slothino, the co-conscious casino brand, to learn more about this and other important environmental topics.
Old Growth Rainforests in British Columbia
British Columbia defines old growth as 250 years for trees in the coastal area, and 140 for trees in the province interior. Old growth trees are considered one of the province’s natural symbols. And the topic is now under the spotlight again. An increase in logging in old growth areas led to protests from environmental activists. As mentioned earlier, these trees are an important part of BC’s ecosystem.
Biodiversity is the most obvious reason. There is a lot of variety among old growth trees, such as yellow cedars, Sitka spruce and Douglas firs. These trees grow deep inside forests and lush valleys, where there is plenty of nutrients from decaying organic matter. And they also help biodiversity by supporting other animal and plant species. Old growth trees also have deep roots in First Nations culture.
Their presence also provides some great help in fighting against climate change. Old growth trees have dense canopies, which helps against floods and erosion as the leaves can hold a significant volume of water. Since sunlight has a hard time making it past the canopies, trees also stagger snowmelt. Their roots, meanwhile, mitigate the effects of heavy rainfall, absorbing large quantities of water.
But then comes the economic factor. According to official data from the province, the forest sector is arguably its most important activity. In 2020, it was responsible for $11.5 billion of the province’s total exports. The sector directly supports 6,700 businesses and employs 50,000 people. The forest sector generated $1.3 billion in revenue, most of which came from timber sales. And old-growth trees make up a significant part of this number. But unless BC implements changes to its logging industry and slows down the destruction, the future won’t look very bright, and the economic importance will mean absolutely nothing.
Logging Could Drive Caribou to Extinction
One of the consequences of old growth tree logging is directly linked to biodiversity. The woodland caribou, an endangered species, could become extinct if things continue this way.
Since the woodland caribou is primarily sedentary, habitat loss poses a serious risk to the species. While the caribou did manage to adapt to changes in the past, the constant habitat change and reduction could eventually lead to a point of no return. Recent efforts have not been enough to revert the scenario. Despite some restoration efforts, the caribou has lost twice as much habitat as it gained during the 12-year period from 2000 to 2012.
In response, as previously mentioned, BC has deferred logging in 11 of the 14 cutblocks in the Argonaut Valley rainforest. However, this is merely a band-aid. Old Growth Revylution demands the same action for the remaining three blocks. British Columbia authorities say that there is no active logging in these areas for now.
Fortunately, Old Growth Revylution’s actions have restored some hope. The group successfully stopped further destruction to BC’s rainforests. Now it’s up to local authorities to follow suit and implement measures to stop logging in old growth rainforests while also continuing with restoration efforts.
Check the Slothino blog for the best online casino promotions, game reviews and news on relevant eco-related topics. Stay a while, Play a while!