The province claimed new regs would save 1,500 trees from logging, but internal memos obtained by The Tyee said otherwise.
By Andrew MacLeod for The Tyee
OFFICIALS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S Forests Ministry understood that a regulation introduced in 2020 to protect big trees on public lands would have little impact. They designed it that way.
Internal records released to The Tyee in response to a Freedom of Information request confirm critics’ suspicions that the Special Tree Protection Regulation was meant to sound good to the public while continuing to protect the interests of the logging industry.
“Timber supply and economic impacts associated with the use of the proposed specifications are predicted to be insignificant when viewed on a provincial scale,” said a Forests Ministry memo dated Jan. 14, 2020 — some eight months before the government enacted the regulation.
The regulations apply to a dozen tree species on Crown and private lands managed under the Forest Act. Trees above set diameters, measured at chest height, are protected from logging. A hectare of forest surrounding each of those trees is also protected as a buffer.