International efforts hope to save Vancouver Island rainforests

By Spencer Sterritt
April 15, 2017 - 7:42am
Jens Weiting with Sierra Club B.C. Says by investing in proper foresting, they can save both jobs and the environment.
Jens Weiting with Sierra Club B.C. Says by investing in proper foresting, they can save both jobs and the environment. Photo Credit: TJ Watt
Over the last thirty years, old-growth rainforest levels on Vancouver Island have plummeted.
Over the last thirty years, old-growth rainforest levels on Vancouver Island have plummeted. Photo Credit: Sierra Club BC

NANAIMO — Rainforests are disappearing but there might be a way to save them while still keeping a thriving logging industry.

Jens Wieting, a forests and climate campaigner with Sierra Club B.C., said 25 international organizations have joined the Club to help promote proper logging and environmental considerations in the island's rainforest.

“We're concerned the BC government isn't taking our global responsibility with the endangered rainforest seriously,” he said.

According to Wieting, the amount of old-growth rainforest on the Island, meaning trees over 150 years old, have dwindled by 30 per cent over recent decades and there's only one per cent left of Douglas Fir trees.

No matter who wins the upcoming provincial election, Wieting and the other organizations, which include Stand.earth and Greenpeace Canada, said they want the next government to start re-tooling the current forestry industry.

“We need better regulation to protect the forest on public land (and) we need funding to protect some of the forests on private land. We have to make sure we can create a higher number of jobs per cubic meter, because there will be less volume available,” he said.

As logging companies move from old growth trees to newer growth, planted within the last 80 years, Wieting said it will be expensive to modify equipment for the new timbre.

To combat what he called an “inevitable” logging shortage, Wieting said reducing clearcutting and only select specific trees will let forests age naturally, which will in turn allow for better products and more jobs.

“It's about improving forest management where logging makes sense,” he said.

The temperate rainforest which covers Vancouver Island is rare, accounting for only one per cent of the Earth's area.

 

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