Science | April 10, 2021 3:18 pm

Potential Loss of Old Growth Forest Sparks Blockades on Vancouver Island

A tense situation between activists and loggers

Vancouver Island
Scenic Vancouver Island.
Mathijs Deerenberg/Unsplash

Late last year, the government of British Columbia released a report on old growth forests. An article at the CBC noted that the report recommended “[acting] within six months to defer harvesting in old forest ecosystems at the highest risk of permanent biodiversity loss.” The environmental news site Mongabay reported in June of 2020 that British Columbia was at a critical point regarding old growth trees, climate change and deforestation.

Now, that conflict has taken on a new element: a blockade set up by environmental activists on Vancouver Island to prevent old growth trees from being cut down. This has been a concern, in some form, for the last 8 months, but it’s gradually drawn more and more participants.

A report from Jesse Winter at The Guardian offers more details on the blockades. Winter writes that “hundreds of activists” are involved, and that their concerns surround “the last 3% of giant old growth trees left in the province.” The article describes a tense scene, with activists blocking roads, loggers responding with legal injunctions and the threat of arrests looming over the proceedings.

Winter also points out that the province’s government faces a dilemma, with concerns over the environmental impact of logging balanced with the economic role of that same industry. It’s a challenging situation, and it’s one unlikely to get any easier for any of the parties involved.

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