‘Conservation financing’ could stop old-growth logging

Reader says with this type of financing province recognizes the benefit of forests

Re: Public outcry wins reprieve for ancient forest (News, May 15)

There are competing interests regarding the proposed timber sale near Port Renfrew, overlooking and coming less than 50 metres of a portion of the Juan de Fuca Trail.

Yet, there is an elegant solution available that was crucial to the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. That is conservation financing in which the B.C. government provided $30 million for this purpose, that is, a payment for the value of carbon stored in the now-protected forests and continuing to do so, in return for not logging in them.

The funds are to be used for sustainable economic development away from cutting the old growth. By doing so, the province recognized the benefit of forests in sequestering carbon, especially old forests.

The B.C. government should engage in this process with the Pacheedaht First Nationin their traditional territory that would also encompass the disputed Central Walbran Valley.

I realize the calculation of the value of the standing forest to be assessed would take some time, so that, while the auction is postponed, the province declare that conservation financing will be provided in principle, subject to the completion of that calculation and an offer made to the Pacheedaht.

Some progress has been made on declaring Indigenous protected and conservation areas in Canada and this is an opportunity to consider it in the present situation.

I ask that the premier respond personally to this suggestion, as it is within his riding. It is a way to resolve the issue and provide a winning solution for all interested parties, while being a significant contribution to the B.C. Climate Plan.

Saul Arbess, Victoria

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