Conservation North urges British Columbia to update Biodiversity Order in Prince George TSA, per Forest Practices Board recommendation; 2020 report found biodiversity in TSA at high risk, and that the Order should be brought in line with current science

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PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia , March 15, 2023 (press release) –

In late 2022, the Prince George Natural Resource District implemented mapped ‘no harvest’ areas in response to a Forest Practices Board investigation on industrial logging of old growth forests in the Prince George Timber Supply Area (‘TSA’). In their 2020 investigation, the Board found that biodiversity was at high risk in the TSA. Biodiversity is the number and variety of native plants, animals and other organisms.
 
The Board’s 2020 investigation report makes two key recommendations (on page 17) in accordance with section 132 of the Forest and Range Practices Act. The first is that the BC map the existing old growth intended to meet the old order. The second is that BC “review and update the requirements for biodiversity in the PG TSA” to bring it in line with current science and to minimize risk of ecological collapse.
 
In December, via a letter of expectation the District followed through with the first recommendation by notifying licensees that they were not to log in mapped ‘no harvest’ areas in order to meet the minimum forest retention targets of the old Biodiversity Order. The Biodiversity Order is a document that contains the legal requirement for licensees to retain old forest in their operating areas.
 
“We are pleased the District followed through on the first recommendation of the Forest Practices Board by mapping old forest areas and notifying licensees to stay out of those areas,” explains Conservation North’s director Michelle Connolly. “Now that the first recommendation has been addressed, the BC government must act on the second one, which is even more critical for nature in our region.”
 
“The Biodiversity Order, which dates back to 2004, is not based on science whatsoever. The targets within it need to be updated. If we don’t do that, we’re going to lose more wildlife habitat, and therefore more wildlife,” asserts Conservation North’s Asta Glembotzski.
 
The push to update the Biodiversity Order is also coming from the Old Growth Strategic Review report (page 61) which BC has publicly committed to implementing. “So we’re seeing this push to protect habitat from two different directions, to increase the proportion of the landscape protected for plants and animals,” states Connolly. “In north-central BC, we need to start applying BC’s new effort to prioritize ecosystem health, and this would be a perfect start.”
 
The Forest Practices Board investigation was triggered by complaints from the public who observed extreme levels of logging in endangered old growth forests north of Prince George. The Board concluded that plants and animals are at high risk of irreversible loss in most of the Prince George District because of industrial logging. This includes the globally rare inland temperate and boreal rainforests.
 
 
For interviews, contact:
Michelle Connolly, Director, Conservation North
Phone: 778-349 3667
Email: michelle.connolly@alumni.unbc.ca
Join Conservation North online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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Background
Conservation North is a community group that launched in 2017 in the ancestral lands of the Lheidli T’enneh. Fifty years of unrestrained industrial logging has left our communities with degraded landscapes and biodiversity loss. Conservation North is calling on the BC government to legally protect primary forests in the interior and enable a just transition towards second-growth forestry and other industries.

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