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BC's oldest trees protected

The B.C. government moved Wednesday to protect 54 of the province’s largest trees in a first step toward a broader old-growth strategy.

In a move criticized as “inadequate” by the B.C. Green Party, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said the “exceptionally large and old trees” were selected from the Big Tree Registry at the University of British Columbia.

Each tree will be surrounded by a “grove” of other trees to provide additional protection, especially from windstorms, he said.

“I don’t want to leave the impression that it’s one tree standing in the forest,” Donaldson said. “It’s a one-hectare buffer around that tree. So it’s other trees included in that.”

Donaldson made the announcement in Francis/King Regional Park, standing in front of an ancient Douglas fir tree that is already protected within the park boundaries.

“British Columbians want to know that trees like this and the ones you’re seeing today — even in an area they might not ever visit — will never be cut down,” he said.

B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen welcomed the decision to protect the 54 trees, but criticized Donaldson for failing to save entire old-growth ecosystems.

The Greens have called for a moratorium on logging in Vancouver Island’s old-growth “hot spots,” which the party defines as areas of critical conservation significance.

“It’s nice to know that these 54 trees, and the one-hectare areas surrounding each of the trees, are going to be protected for generations to come,” Olsen said in a statement.

“But if government were serious about protecting B.C.’s old growth forests, they would be immediately protecting the few remaining, high productivity old-growth ecosystems — not a handful of trees.”



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