Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

BC’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand for Biodiversity

Wednesday February 10, 2021  12:00pm-1:00pm

Zoom Webinar - Smithers, BC

ABOUT THIS PRESENTATION

Old growth is disappearing globally with implications for biodiversity, forest resilience and carbon storage, yet uncertainty remains about how much exists. We analysed publicly available data to examine the status of old growth stratified by ecosystem and productivity. While a quarter of BC's forests are old, matching government claims, only 1% support the productive old growth valued globally as biodiversity hubs, carbon stores, and climate change refugia. Most productive forests have less than 30% of the area expected to be old and nearly half have less than 1% of the area expected naturally, putting biodiversity and resilience at high risk. Protected forests are biased to low productivity forests. To address risk, government needs to defer harvest of productive old growth and develop science-based targets for old growth retention. Government response to date has been disappointing, but land-use planning provides an opportunity to improve. 

ABOUT KAREN PRICE

Karen Price (PhD) works at the interface of science and management with partner Dave Daust. Her recent work focusses on assessing risks to ecological values posed by cumulative effects of resource management and climate change. She’s been involved with old growth for 25 years. Her frustrations with the lack of transparency in policy inspired her, along with Dave and colleague Rachel Holt, to analyse the condition of BC’s old growth forests.

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