Four Vancouver Island First Nations have reached an agreement with forestry firm Western Forest Products Inc. to defer harvesting of 25 square kilometres of rare, ancient and priority old-growth trees.
The two-year deferral between the four members of the Nanwakolas Council and the forest company includes preservation of 10 square kilometres of forest identified by an old-growth advisory panel as needing protection.
Another 15 square kilometres of priority ancient forests was also deferred through other agreements between the nations and the forestry firm.
In November, the government said it would defer the logging of B.C.'s most rare old-growth trees and gave 200 First Nations a deadline to say if they supported the deferrals or if they thought further discussion was required.
Nanwakolas Council president Dallas Smith says the agreement is important not only to protect the big trees but the habitat around them because some of the giant ones left standing alone in a clearcut have later blown down.
Forests Minister Katrine Conroy says temporary deferrals on logging of old-growth are an important measure giving First Nations and the forest industry time and space to develop long-term strategies.