IN NOVEMBER 2021, British Columbia finally released detailed maps showing 2.6 million hectares of old growth forests across the province that needed to be immediately set aside from logging, through a process known as deferrals. Keeping these rare big-treed, ancient, and remnant old growth forests standing was meant to be an urgent first step—initially given a timeline of 6 months from the release of the Old Growth Strategic Review in April 2020—while the province undergoes a paradigm-shift in forest management, from a model that puts timber value above all else to one that fully upholds Indigenous Title and Rights and centres ecological integrity.
A temporary ban on logging in the most rare, at-risk old growth forests was meant to be the most urgent and straightforward of 14 recommendations on old growth that the British Columbia government promised to implement in 2020. Two years into a three year timeline for all of those recommendations, not a single one of the 14 recommendations has been fulfilled and old growth continues to be destroyed at alarming rates.
In fact, in the 10 months since deferral maps were released the province has largely failed to stop the logging of the most at-risk deferrals: those that overlap with active and pending forest harvesting permits.