BC Announces New Measures to Protect Old-Growth, Increase Innovation and Forest Stewardship
The British Columbia government announced today (2-15-23) that it is taking new measures to protect more old growth by fast-tracking innovation and co-developing new local plans with First Nations to better care for the province’s forests.
The focal point of the eight-point plan is $25 million for new Forest Landscape Planning (FLP) tables that will drive improved old-growth management while incorporating local knowledge and community priorities. Facilitated by amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act in 2021, forest landscape plans are a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to forest stewardship that will replace existing, industry-developed plans.
Responding to requests from First Nations for more in-depth dialogue about old growth, this funding will support eight new regional FLP tables with the participation of approximately 50 First Nations. These tables will prevent harvesting in old-growth forests important for ecosystem health, biodiversity, clean water, carbon storage, and Indigenous values. They will also provide greater certainty about areas where sustainable harvesting can occur to support jobs and investment.
In addition, the announcement also included the ramping up of government investments to support innovation in the forestry industry. The province is doubling the new BC Manufacturing Jobs Funds to $180 million and expanding eligibility provincewide. As an example, the BC Manufacturing Job Fund will support mills to process smaller-diameter trees and manufacture higher-value wood products such as mass timber. It will also accelerate shovel-ready projects across the manufacturing ecosystem that will bring direct benefits and stable, family-supporting jobs to communities throughout the province.
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