A participant at a rally for old-growth forest conservation outside the B.C. legislature on Feb. 14.(Jake Romphf/News Staff)

A participant at a rally for old-growth forest conservation outside the B.C. legislature on Feb. 14.(Jake Romphf/News Staff)

90 scientists ask feds to protect carbon-rich old forests in upcoming climate plan

Canada is home to about 16 per cent of the world’s remaining old-growth forests

Ninety scientists have written the federal government asking it to ensure old-growth forests are protected in its upcoming greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan.

The group includes some of the top climate and forest researchers in Canada and the U.S., including Suzanne Simard, who discovered how trees in a forest communicate with each other.

It points out Canada is home to about 16 per cent of the world’s remaining old-growth forests, which store up to 50 per cent more carbon than young forests.

But it says Canada is cutting those stands too quickly, releasing greenhouse gases and making forests less resilient to wildfires.

It also asks the government to do a better job accounting for greenhouse gases released by the forestry industry.

The letter comes days before the federal Liberals are expected to release their plan for how Canada will meet its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050.

—The Canadian Press

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