Environmental groups worry about logging in Alberta caribou habitat

Environmental groups say they have confirmed the Alberta government has directed a forestry company to harvest old-growth trees in caribou habitat where the province has already spent millions to help the herds survive.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Alberta Wilderness Association say West Fraser Timber has been directed to clear cut blocks next to a park in northwest Alberta that contains trees older than 100 years old.

Read more: Canada, Alberta sign deal on caribou protection that gives them years to take action

They say some blocks next to the Willmore Wilderness Area are in caribou ranges that are already more than 90 per cent damaged.

The Alberta government has funded wolf culls and habitat restoration on those lands for more than a decade and has signed agreements with Ottawa promising to develop a plan to make the herds viable. West Fraser says the planned clearcuts aren’t pristine and aren’t heavily used by caribou.

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Click to play video: 'Environmental groups call for reconsideration of clearcutting in remote valley' Environmental groups call for reconsideration of clearcutting in remote valley

Environmental groups call for reconsideration of clearcutting in remote valley – Sep 18, 2020

It says it’s following direction from the government to harvest in those areas as a temporary measure to protect jobs and caribou, while land use planning continues.

The province did not immediately respond to a question on how its logging plans might conflict with agreements to conserve caribou habitat.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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