An online letter supported by nearly 1,200 people from Prince George and other parts of the globe is making the rounds. The letter seeks greater protection of the inland temperate rainforest, a system of old cedar-hemlock forests east of Prince George. Over 30 university groups, environmental organizations, and BC businesses have added their names.
As Jeff Werner, a member of Northern Wetbelt Working Group explains, “We started circulating the letter after realizing that the proposed Ancient Forest protected area covered a very small proportion of this globally unique ecosystem, and that about 20% of the new protected area has been logged in the past.” Temperate rainforest outside the new protected area continues to be logged.
The letter, which references reports by scientists and a government forester, points out that people have been calling for large-scale protection of inland rainforest for many years. A BC Forest Practices Board report released in 2008 recommended the suspension of harvesting and the development of a conservation strategy, and groups such as the Save the Cedar League have proposed protected areas for the region.
“We can’t replace old growth forest once it’s been cut down,” says Keaton Freel, a group member from UNBC, “So we’d really like to see a long-term plan that protects much of what’s left in the inland temperate rainforest.”
Although the letter has been signed mostly by locals, people as far away as Australia, Greece and Peru have also added their names. Scientist David Schindler, and broadcaster David Suzuki have added their names to the letter.
A link to the letter can be found on the Northern Wetbelt Working Group Facebook page and the group is asking for signatures. The letter was submitted as part of the public consultation process on the proposed Ancient Forest protected area and continues to gather names.
Northern Wetbelt Working Group