A new series of photos has been released by the Ancient Forest Alliance to call for conservation of old-growth forests that are being affected by logging.
The series was captured between 2020 and 2022 by photographer TJ Watt near Lake Cowichan and on the Ditidaht First Nation’s land on southern Vancouver Island.
Watt’s work was funded by a grant partnership awarded by the National Geographic Society and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in order to provide Canadian explorers, scientists, photographers, geographers and educators with funding on a preservation storytelling basis.
“Capturing these before and after images is quite a difficult process–both technically and emotionally–but I’m committed to exposing the ongoing threats ancient forests face until legislated protection can be achieved for them,” said Watt.
“Only when seeing a side-by-side comparison can one truly grasp the scale of loss and devastation from old-growth logging. Once cut down, not even our great, great-grandchildren will have the chance to see a forest like that there again.”
The provincial government accepted a 2021 recommendation from an independent science panel to defer logging on 2.6 million hectares of at-risk old-growth forests in BC.
The deferrals were to be obtained pending local First Nations approval, however the land in question has not been fully secured for deferral at this time.
The Ancient Forest Alliance is calling attention to the areas included in this deferral that continue to be logged to this day.
They claim that this is due to the fact that the province has yet to provide local First Nations with the financing to enable these deferrals.
Lots of the trees photographed by Watt have been identified as ‘big tree’ old-growth groves that met the criteria for deferral.
Many were logged just months before the recommendation came into effect and some were logged before deferrals could be secured by the local First Nations and old-growth activists.
The photos taken by Watt for the Ancient Forest Alliance have been added to their online database of trees and their stumps.