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British Columbia's $300 million fund to safeguard old-growth forests

In a bid to protect its pristine natural landscapes, the government of British Columbia has introduced a groundbreaking initiative: the Conservation Financing Mechanism. This visionary project, boasting a substantial budget of $300 million, comprises a $150 million contribution from the province itself and a matching commitment from the BC Parks Foundation. The primary focus of this ambitious endeavour is the preservation of old-growth forests, safeguarding vital ecosystems, and championing environmental sustainability.

British Columbias fund to safeguard old-growth forests_old-growth forest on Canada West Coast_visual 1Old-growth forest on Canada West Coast.

The Conservation Financing Mechanism serves as a platform for collaboration between the government and First Nations. Its core objectives include the conservation of critical habitats and the implementation of recommendations from the Old Growth Strategic Review. This Indigenous-led approach underscores the commitment to protect nature and calls upon other organisations and individuals to join the cause.

Read more: Sustainable forestry practices combatting deforestation in Canada

Premier David Eby, while stressing the imperative of conserving nature amid environmental challenges, stated, ‘That’s why we’re working with the BC Parks Foundation and First Nations to launch a new tool that will protect old-growth forests and conserve critical habitats across the province for generations to come.’

Playing a pivotal role in this initiative, the BC Parks Foundation will collaborate with philanthropic groups, employing crowd-sourcing strategies to encourage participation from all British Columbians. The initial provincial investment of $150 million is expected to catalyse further donations from individuals and the private sector.

Read more: Asset managers tackle biodiversity loss by creating metrics to assess corporate impacts

The $300 million fund will support various conservation measures, Indigenous-led initiatives, environmental stewardship programmes, and low-carbon economic opportunities. Co-author of the Old Growth Strategic Review, Garry Merkel, expressed optimism about the initiative's potential to safeguard future options and enhance ecosystem health and biodiversity.

The fund will be independently managed by the foundation and supervised by an expert committee, with half of its members representing First Nations. This initiative aligns with British Columbia's pledge to expedite old-growth protection, as advised by the Old Growth Strategic Review.

In parallel with the Conservation Financing Mechanism, the province is implementing Forest Landscape Planning, which will replace existing forest stewardship plans. These new plans are designed to establish clear, long-term objectives for managing old growth, biodiversity, environmental instability, and wildfire risk.

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Since November 2021, British Columbia has worked closely with First Nations to halt old-growth logging, leading to deferrals on approximately 2.4 million hectares, including 1.23 million hectares of the most at-risk old growth. These deferrals, in line with the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review, act as a temporary measure to prevent irreversible biodiversity loss while long-term forest management strategies are developed.

This monumental announcement has garnered widespread support from environmental organisations, Indigenous representatives, and philanthropic leaders. The creation of this fund is perceived as a pivotal step in addressing the ongoing funding requirements for nature conservation in British Columbia and promoting Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship.

With approximately 11.1 million hectares of old-growth forests enveloping 12% of the entire province, the Conservation Financing Mechanism stands as a remarkable investment in preserving British Columbia's natural heritage and tackling the worldwide biodiversity crisis.

At DGB Group, our expertise lies in crafting large-scale global nature-based projects. These endeavours focus on rejuvenating natural ecosystems, uplifting local communities, and laying the foundations for a more sustainable future for all. Our all-encompassing solutions cater to the requirements of governments, organisations, investors, and individuals who aspire to make a positive impact on the environment. DGB's initiatives provide the means for individuals and groups to make environmentally responsible contributions, offering premium carbon credits with added benefits that guide your path towards a future that fosters a harmonious relationship with nature.

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