The Ancient Forest Alliance’s campaigner and photographer TJ Watt, hugs the ninth widest Sitka spruce in B.C., in the Mossome Grove near Port Renfrew. (TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance) It’s estimated that about 34 soccer fields of old-growth forests are being cut down everyday leaving only about 10 per cent or less of big trees globally. (TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance)

Old-growth forest webinar launches Thursday

Sierra Club offers six-week crash course into the mechanics of the issue

Sierra Club B.C. is offering a six-week crash course on the state of old-growth forests on Vancouver Island, which they say is being logged at alarming rates with little government action in response.

The six-part webinar, running from April 11 to May 16, will offer information on the current state of the forests, policy in B.C. surrounding the issue and what people can do to defend the old-growth forests.

“Really what needs to happen is the B.C. government needs to feel more pressure, to see that people really care about protecting old-growth forests, and develop a forest policy that makes sense in B.C.,” says Galen Armstrong, lead organizer for the event.

READ ALSO: Conservationists want protection on ‘Canada’s most magnificent old-growth forest’

Old-growth forests, with trees in the 100- to 250 year-old range, make up about 860,000 hectares of forest on the Island and Lower Mainland currently — a 26 per cent decrease from the original 5.5 million hectares.

“One of the big things about old-growth forests is they hold a lot more carbon than a younger forest can hold,” says Armstrong. “So there is a big relationship between climate change and forests.”

It’s estimated that about 34 soccer fields of old-growth forests are being cut down everyday leaving only about 10 per cent or less of big trees globally.

“This coastal rain forest that we have is extremely rare, it’s less than one per cent of the global ecosystems, so it’s a very special thing that we have and we’re in danger of losing it almost entirely,” he says.

READ ALSO: Conservation group discovers ancient old-growth forest near Port Renfrew

Registrants will hear from Jens Wieting, a senior forest and climate campaigner, Mark Worthing, conservation and climate campaigner, along with other leaders in the fight against climate change.

“We’re at this point where we have so little [of these forests] left, and the government — just in their lack of action — seem to be saying there isn’t enough pressure from the public,” says Armstrong. “But we see so much interest from out supporters who say there is a problem here and we need to address it.”

The six-part webinar will be offered from noon to 1 p.m. with recordings made available to registrants to watch anytime. The series is free of charge but a donation of $15 is suggested to help cover the organizers cost. To RSVP visit sierraclub.bc.ca



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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