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NEWS RELEASE · 30th July 2010
Ministry of Forest and Range
The Province has identified an additional 38,779 hectares on Vancouver Island to protect old-growth forests, Minister Responsible for the Integrated Land Management Bureau Pat Bell announced today.

"British Columbia's old growth forests are known and admired by people from around the world," said Bell. "Adding another 39,000 hectares nearly doubles the old-growth management areas on Vancouver Island and demonstrates B.C.'s leadership in sustainable forest management."

On the Coast, old-growth trees are those 250 years or older. The 38,779 hectares of old-growth management areas identified in the coastal temperate rainforest of northern and north-central Vancouver Island will be managed to help sustain old-growth forests for the benefit of many plants and animals that need old growth forest conditions to survive. These include species-at-risk such as the marbled murrelet, a seabird that builds its nests on large branches of old-growth trees near the ocean.

Setting aside old-growth management areas also provides certainty for forest companies, who are required to identify such areas in their forest stewardship plans. By designating areas that cannot be logged, forest companies can plan their timber harvesting and other operations in the remaining forested areas. Many of the areas now set aside were identified jointly by government, company foresters and biologists, a collaborative effort that will benefit British Columbia for generations to come.

With today's announcement, the amount of old-growth management areas established on Vancouver Island increases to 83,687 hectares. As well, there are about 438,000 hectares of parks and protected areas on Vancouver Island. Provincewide, there are approximately 25 million hectares of old-growth forests with around 3.7 million hectares fully protected - an area larger than Vancouver Island.

The old growth management areas are within the following eight landscape units: Tsitika, Naka, Adam-Eve, Salmon and White (all north of Campbell River and Sayward) within the Campbell River forest district - and Nahwitti, Tsulquate and Marble (located west of Port Hardy and Port McNeill) within the North Island-Central Coast forest district.