Farmland at Reid Lake

B.C. farmland protected from reforestation

Regulation change closes loophole that allowed British company to buy up B.C. farms and convert them to forest for carbon offsets

The B.C. government has changed regulations to require a permit from the Agricultural Land Commission for large-scale tree-planting on agricultural land.

The change comes after a British-based food and drug company began buying up farms in the B.C. Interior and planting them with trees so it could advertise its global manufacturing business as carbon-neutral.

The new regulation requires a permit before planting trees on any protected agricultural property more than 20 hectares in size. It exempts trees grown for food production such as fruit or nuts and “agroforestry,” where trees and shrubs are incorporated into farm production for such uses as shelter belts or soil improvement.

Reckitt Benckiser Inc. suspended its tree planting program in June 2015 after local governments in the Prince George and Cariboo regions became concerned about local farm economies being weakened as cleared land was converted to coniferous forests.

Local government representatives disputed the company’s claim that it was only buying unproductive or abandoned farms. The program, called Trees For Change, began in 2006 with a goal of planting seven million trees, and that goal was mostly accomplished by the time the program was suspended.

A spokesperson said last spring the company would continue to maintain the planted areas and examine if it could switch its tree planting efforts to areas affected by bark beetles or fire rather than farmland.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick initially said the ALC regulations were in place to prevent planting farmland for carbon offsets, but that was only if they were to be sold in a carbon trading market.

 

Just Posted

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Witness the passion and fire of flamenco in Victoria this July

Seventh annual Victoria Flamenco Festival features free and ticketed performances downtown

Sidney youth bowl over the competition, head for nationals

Youngsters take Mens and Womens Singles Championships at recent tournament

West Shore resident, local officer encourages women to take control of their safety

Kris Greffard is posting short videos with safety tips for women using local trails and parks

Point Ellice House exhibit offers new lens into colonial history

The new ‘Politics of luxury’ display studies the wealthy O’Reilly family from several angles

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read