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BC anti-deforestation bill won't apply to timber harvesting

The British Columbia government has introduced legislation aimed at preventing deforestation, but the new law won't apply to timber harvesting.

The Zero Net Deforestation Act, given first reading today, makes good on a two-year-old throne speech promise and will “encourage” an equal area of trees be planted any time forest land is “permanently cleared for another use.”

It does not, however, require trees to be planted on areas that are logged as part of the provincial forest industry. “Timber harvesting in B.C. is sustainably managed, and not considered to be deforestation,” says the government's announcement of the bill.

The government “must achieve” the goal by 2015, the bill says, though it is unclear what will happen if the goal is not met. Starting in 2012 the forest minister will be required to report each two years on the progress the government has made towards meeting the goal.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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