SAANICH — The British Columbia government is protecting 54 of the province’s largest and oldest trees along with a one-hectare buffer zone surrounding each of the giants.
Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says the announcement is also the start of a broader conversation about the future of old-growth management in the province.
The trees are on the University of B.C.’s Big Tree Registry that has identified 347 of the largest of each species in the province.
The 54 trees were at risk of being harvested, but now the government says they’ll be protected.
The trees are located in more than two dozen locations, including central B.C., the East Kootenays, Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley.
The species include arbutus, coastal Douglas fir, Pacific yew, ponderosa pine, Sitka spruce, western red cedar and western white pine.
The government says starting this fall, an independent two-person panel will meet with First Nations, industry and communities on how to manage old growth in the province.
Currently, 55 per cent of old-growth forests on Crown land in B.C.’s coastal region are already protected from logging.