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Friday, September 5, 2008

Old-growth B.C. forests worth more standing than fallen, study says

VANCOUVER — Leaving British Columbia's old-growth forests standing may make more economic sense than cutting them down for timber, especially as the province looks to strategies to cut global warming, a new B.C. study suggests.

The report from Simon Fraser University challenges the status quo and uses Ministry of Forest data to show conservation wins out over logging when forests are valued for their role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, protecting endangered species and providing opportunities for recreation.

The study backed by three environmental groups - Wilderness Committee, David Suzuki Foundation, and Ecojustice - used computer modeling to look at a variety of conservation and logging scenarios in a large tract of forest near Vancouver.

In almost every scenario, researchers say they found the value of the carbon captured and stored by the trees far outweighed the value of the lumber harvested from the logs.

Faisal Moola, science director for the David Suzuki Foundation, called the results a clear indicator that B.C. should be protecting its old-growth forest as it works with other western provinces to reduce global warming.

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The painting is by Laura Tasheiko

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