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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emergency crews respond to crash on Elk Lake Drive

Emergency vehicles are blocking access to the area

The long road to recovery will have a few bumps

Some things will never be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic, local experts say

Sooke council approves new funding for chamber of commerce

A $16,000 service agreement to be created

Sooke council delays vote on Whiffin Spit memorial wall

Sooke district council has again delayed a decision to erect a memorial… Continue reading

Peninsula farm stands open for business with COVID-19 restrictions

Growers hopeful shoppers will support local farms

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Most Read