Ecocide: Killing British Columbia’s Last Great Big Trees

How much is enough? More. Since 1981, I have witnessed the greatest and most diversified temperate old-growth rainforests in the world, those of British Columbia (BC), being raped and pillaged under the auspice of crown (provincial) forestry management propping up a couple hundred timber-harvesting towns and the opportunistic (and fleeting) multinational corporations that milk the system and taunt the people with jobs.

Giant British Columbia Trees
Reese Halter planting trees in the Northern Rockies, circa 1986.
Image credit: Jane Williams

Today, about a couple dozen old-growth wood-addicted communities with automated state-of-the-art mills remain. It’s a house of cards that over the previous decade has siphoned $3.65 billion from the provincial coffers to stay afloat. Lousy subsidies.

In reality, every day there are less wild rainforests and far less animals. Habitat destruction is horrible in an accelerating man-driven Age of Extinction. Additionally, those cutover forestlands are incapable of decontaminating putrid fossil fuel-tainted rainwater, which runs off into the sea or through your tap.

Giant British Columbia Trees
Wrecking old-growth and impoverishing nature on Vancouver Island, the forest industry running roughshod and being paid by the BC government to do so. Bloody shocking.  Image credit: TJ Watts

The court of public opinion has decided that BC should permanently set aside its remaining ~1,500 square miles of giant trees (‘the white rhino of old-growth rainforests’), an amnesty forever.

Giant British Columbia Trees
British Columbia’s glorious coastal old-growth western redcedars, sitka spruce and Douglas-firs are amongst the most productive long-lived rainforests on the face of the Earth. They are ALL so worthy of total protection, RIGHT NOW. Image credit: John Zada

It turns out that those last giant BC trees along with all the other titans globally, make up about one percent of all the standing trees in existence. They are sacred. Not just for their tree rings, which are an exact record book of the Earth’s climate dating back thousands of years, but also, because they hold 50 percent of all the stored terrestrial above ground carbon (wood) within the world’s forests. Protecting all the remaining old-growth worldwide is nature’s ready-made solution to the man-made climate catastrophe (from burning fossil fuels and wood pellets).

BC’s old-growth, the giants, occupy 0.8 percent of the wild rainforests. These beauties are local, regional, continental and intercontinental climatemakers, second only to the oceans. (See The Gen Z Emergency for intriguing details). Quite simply, the value of living, breathing, dripping old-growth is inestimable. In fact, it’s the key for the survival of the Gen Zs (under 26s). 

Drought, heat and fire leave massive burial yards on all continents. SOS. Soundtrack credit: The Science Show, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Giant British Columbia Trees
A thousand years of a living, breathing, supreme CO2 warehouse ruined by man so that wood pellet heat can broil all life on Earth to death. This is a flagrant example of gross negligence and horrendous subsidized mismanagement by the crown on behalf of its citizens, who own the land. Image credit: TJ Watts

Alas, bank-funded plundering is quickly razing old-growth (in BCTasmania and many other places) to make more wooden pellets for humongous combustion furnaces in the U.K., EU, Asia and southeast United States. Those wooden pellets are releasing 13 percent more climate-destroying greenhouse gases than burning coal. What the hell.

The BC government, which manages most of the provincial forestlands, has greenlighted mowing down Mother Earth’s life support system, its old-growth, to heat-up our only home that is currently suffering from a pneumonia as evidenced by sprawling forest graveyards in BCAustralia and globally, and ever-expanding coral cemeteries.

Adding insult to injury, the BC government is paying billionaires and multinational planet-killing corporations to simplify nature, clear-cutting its old-growth. Simplification equals extinction. Extinction means forever!

The animals, plants, fens, bogs, mires, other wetlands and old-growth rainforests stand no chance whatsoever because BC still lacks a law to protect its endangered species. How convenient for the extermination of the last great big trees and all life therein.


Giant British Columbia Trees
Every day more old-growth is clear-felled in BC. The BC government is infamous for procrastinating the protection of nature. That means there is less old-growth week in, week out. Unfrackin’ acceptable.
Image credit: Wilderness Committee

A recent review of the government’s mismanagement of the provincial rainforests urges Premier John Horgan to safeguard the remaining old-growth. It is rare and finite. Once it’s lost, everything and everyone loses, including BC’s renowned $104.9 billion per annum tourism industry. Incidentally, tourism pays the bills, unlike forestry that grovels for subsidies, ruins nature and, at the end of the day, reduces the survivability of the Gen Zs.

Giant British Columbia Trees
An intrepid Gen Z tree sitter defending the largest temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere, the Tarkine, from a subsidised chainsaw massacre. 
Image credit: Bob Brown Foundation, Australia

Enough is enough. It’s time for the BC Green Party to step-up and defend what’s left of the besieged rainforests. In the meantime, it is up to each of us, along with the muscle of the Ancient Forest AllianceWilderness CommitteeSierra Club BC and others to use direct-action, agitating and protesting the destruction of Earth’s unique legacy, its marvelous life-sustaining old-growth rainforests.

Giant British Columbia Trees
Caption: Reese Halter in the Northern Rockies surveying old-growth rainforests for the British Columbia Forest Service, circa 1988.
Image credit: Pat Bearman



Dr. Reese Halter

Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is now available!
GenZ Emergency

Tweet @RelentlessReese


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