Time lapse map shows the loss of ancient forests on Vancouver Island

May 4, 2017

Time lapse map shows the loss of ancient forests on Vancouver Island mirrors the loss of jobs and mills on the island and province-wide. 

A stunning new animated map of logging on Vancouver Island was released today by well-known BC environmentalist Vicky Husband. The map displays 150 years of logging in 30 seconds, and provides important perspective to public debate over logging and the escalation of raw log exports from the province.

“More than anything, this map shows that we’re logging like there’s no tomorrow — for the forests and the fish and wildlife that depend on them for habitat, or for the communities that have depended on them for jobs and economic stability,” said Husband.

“Only 7 percent of the ancient forest on the island is protected, and the little that remains is slated for logging. Now we find it’s the same story for our logging and milling communities, not just on Vancouver Island but the whole coast and the rest of BC, and the reason is raw log exports.”

Since 1997, over 100 mills have closed. In the past 10 years, 27 percent of BC forestry workers have lost their jobs. Over 22,000 good paying jobs in sawmills and pulp & paper mills are gone.

Meanwhile, last year over 6 million cubic metres of raw logs — one in three trees logged on the coast — enough to employ thousands of men and women in milling and manufacturing — left the province as raw logs. For the most part, the companies exporting raw logs are paying just 25 cents per cubic metre, only 2 or 3 percent as much as they paid a few decades ago.

Under the Liberal government, the cost paid by timber companies to cut old forests has dropped significantly to 1/3 of all trees cut in the province 25 cents a cubic metre. Husband says “Imagine a logging truck carrying huge trees that are taxed at less than $20 a truck load a third of the time. There is no return to the government, no lowering of our taxes. And the loss of a forest for future revenue including in tourism and recreation.”

Said Husband, “It’s time to stop logging old growth forests while we still have some left. And as the export of raw logs continues, mills close, the jobs leave BC along with all of the other economic returns. We need our government to stand up for the communities before it’s too late. I urge everyone to consider the options and vote with care.

Time lapse map available at Commons BC

Mapper: Dave Leversee
Video: Dave Leversee
John Broadhead, Vicky Husband, Nathan Schumaker, TJ Watt, Garth Lenz

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