WA Conservation Organization Applauds Canadian Governments’ Commitment to Protecting Ecosystem Health and Biodiversity in B.C.

WA Conservation Organization Applauds Canadian Governments’ Commitment to Protecting Ecosystem Health and Biodiversity in B.C.

Conservation Northwest / Dec 01, 2023 / British Columbia

New plans to reform land uses and meet promises to Indigenous communities could double the amount of protected areas in British Columbia

Following up on a promise made in 2021, the British Columbian government recently announced a strategic plan that could have enormous positive effects on biodiversity, old-growth forests and ecological integrity if implemented as planned.

“These are pretty significant steps toward protecting nature, mitigating climate change effects and for Indigenous stewardship over their traditional lands in B.C.” said Joe Scott, International Programs Director for Washington-based Conservation Northwest. “Canada and U.S. are separate countries but only one ecological landscape with plants and animals whose habitats must be connected to thrive into the future.”

The announcement of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Framework, which will earmark CAD $300 million conservation financing mechanism for old-growth and other sensitive areas, follows the government’s announcement of its sweeping CAD $1 billion Tripartite Nature Agreement between the governments of B.C., Canada and First Nations.

Conservation Northwest Executive Director Mitch Friedman shared his appreciation of this groundbreaking plan in a letter to B.C. Premier David Eby, “While our organization is in the State of Washington, we have worked for over 30 years in partnerships on both sides of the border to conserve the function of our transboundary ecosystems. This work includes protecting habitat for and working to recover mountain caribou, grizzly bear, spotted owl, and other species. This bold framework agreement, with its focus on protecting old forests in ways that respect the Rights and Title of First Nations and help sustain rural economies, will have a transformative conservation impact.”

The Draft Framework and the Nature Agreement are intended to meet B.C.’s goals of protecting 30 percent of its forests and grasslands by 2030 and for meeting the Reconciliation goals the government enshrined in law in 2019 to legally implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

“The draft framework aims to ultimately fulfill one of the 14 recommendations from the 2021 Old Growth Strategic Report, which called for a vast change to the way the province manages and logs forests with old-growth trees”, states Scott. “Initiatives like this are very encouraging from a global perspective if we have any hope of reversing the biodiversity and climate change crises that we face collectively.”

Learn more: B.C., Ottawa, First Nations announce conservation agreement worth $1B | CBC News