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Province launches new protections for old growth, more funding for timber manufacturing

The B.C. government is spending $25 million for eight new regional forest landscape planning tables as well as doubling the new BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund.

Provincial officials said the regional tables will prevent harvesting in old growth forests important for Indigenous values, ecosystem health, clean water, carbon storage and biodiversity.

They said this is in response to requests from First Nations for more in-depth discussions about old growth.

“Our forests are foundational to B.C. In collaboration with First Nations and industry, we are accelerating our actions to protect our oldest and rarest forests,” said Premier David Eby in a release.

“At the same time, we will support innovation in the forestry sector so our forests can deliver good, family-supporting jobs for generations to come.”

The province is doubling the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund to $180 million.

The fund was only announced on Jan. 17 and will also be expanded province-wide.

Previously it excluded Metro Vancouver and the Capital regional districts.

The fund is aimed at supporting investment and innovation in the industry and with that increase the number of job opportunities.

Provincial officials said there will also be a number of other announcements this year.

This includes implementing alternatives to clear-cutting practices, increasing Indigenous participation in co-developing changes to forest policy and creating an old growth strategic action plan.

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