The B.C. government has established 6,482 old growth management areas (OGMAs) under the Oil and Gas Activities Act, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson has announced.
The old growth management areas cover 186,198 hectares in 58 Landscape Units within the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District, the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District and the Chilliwack Natural Resource District.
These old growth management areas were originally established under the Land Act between 2000 and 2015, in consultation with First Nations and the forest industry, to protect them from forestry activity. By also establishing them under the Oil and Gas Activities Act, these areas are protected from oil and gas activity. The boundaries of the 6,482 old growth management areas have not changed.
This move addresses a recommendation in the 2012 Forest Practices Board special investigation report on old-growth management and contributes to the regulatory alignment of resource development activities.
Creating old growth management areas helps safeguard the biological diversity of old-growth forests and meet land use objectives. These areas are also excluded from commercial timber harvesting, which helps preserve plant ecosystems, wildlife habitat and cultural values.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations worked with the Oil and Gas Commission to establish these OGMAs under the Oil and Gas Activities Act. Stakeholders in the energy industry were also notified about the proposal.
This project reflects the B.C. government’s ongoing commitment to protect old-growth forests, promote biodiversity and preserve valuable ecosystems for the enjoyment of all British Columbians.
- A Landscape Unit is a natural resource planning area (generally covering up to 100,000 hectares) whose boundaries are defined according to topographic or geographic features, such as a watershed or a series of watersheds.
- There are currently about 49,000 old growth management areas in British Columbia, covering almost 3.1 million hectares.
- A total of about 4.5 million hectares of old-growth forest are protected within old growth management areas, provincial parks, national parks, ecological reserves, land conservancies and recreational areas in British Columbia.
- The South Coast Natural Resource Region includes the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District, the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District and the Chilliwack Natural Resource District. It encompasses over 1,346,204 million hectares of land in southern B.C.
- Currently, almost 37% of the South Coast Natural Resource Region is designated as parks, protected areas or conservation areas.