BC Chamber does not support ban on old growth logging

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As we come out of the UBCM conference, the BC Chamber would like to clarify its policy position on conservation of old growth forests.

We have never detracted from the position that the province must support its vibrant forestry industry, which, is not only world-renowned for its sustainable forest management practices, but also continues to power our economy and create jobs for British Columbians from the interior to the coast. The BC Chamber strongly supports the sustainable growth and future prosperity of B.C.’s forestry industry, which currently contributes to more than half of Canada’s softwood lumber exports.

To be clear, the BC Chamber and its membership passed a policy to support the increased conservation of old growth forests in cases where the revenue generated by tourism would provide a greater economic benefit to the community than it would if the area were to be logged. We also recognize that millions of hectares of forests in these areas and others are already currently conserved for this purpose - as well as for parks, First Nation’s cultural values, wildlife habitat and other areas.  

Large numbers of tourists from around the world visit the province’s old-growth forests every year and demand by the tourism industry is high for many remaining old-growth stands. This is particularly the case for Port Renfrew, which has been transformed in recent years into an old-growth forest tourism destination where thousands of international visitors travel to see some of the world’s largest trees and grandest groves. Several B.C. communities also benefit from tourists coming to visit old-growth forests near Port Renfrew, including Vancouver, Victoria, Sooke, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, and Nanaimo.

The BC Chamber recognizes that all or nothing is not the answer. The B.C. forestry industry plays a vital role in driving our provincial and national economy. We also recognize that our membership, which includes forestry companies and businesses across the province, agrees that there are cases where the conservation of old growth forests have a greater economic benefit for future generations to come. We need to continue to work together to find the right balance.