Farmland at Reid Lake

B.C. farmland protected from reforestation

Regulation change closes loophole that allowed British company to buy up B.C. farms and convert them to forest for carbon offsets

The B.C. government has changed regulations to require a permit from the Agricultural Land Commission for large-scale tree-planting on agricultural land.

The change comes after a British-based food and drug company began buying up farms in the B.C. Interior and planting them with trees so it could advertise its global manufacturing business as carbon-neutral.

The new regulation requires a permit before planting trees on any protected agricultural property more than 20 hectares in size. It exempts trees grown for food production such as fruit or nuts and “agroforestry,” where trees and shrubs are incorporated into farm production for such uses as shelter belts or soil improvement.

Reckitt Benckiser Inc. suspended its tree planting program in June 2015 after local governments in the Prince George and Cariboo regions became concerned about local farm economies being weakened as cleared land was converted to coniferous forests.

Local government representatives disputed the company’s claim that it was only buying unproductive or abandoned farms. The program, called Trees For Change, began in 2006 with a goal of planting seven million trees, and that goal was mostly accomplished by the time the program was suspended.

A spokesperson said last spring the company would continue to maintain the planted areas and examine if it could switch its tree planting efforts to areas affected by bark beetles or fire rather than farmland.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick initially said the ALC regulations were in place to prevent planting farmland for carbon offsets, but that was only if they were to be sold in a carbon trading market.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VALLEY SENIORS: A second chance comes with enough memories for two

The Dietrich family makes its mark on Abbeyfield House in Port Alberni

Inquest into death of Jocelyn George postponed due to COVID-19

Coroner’s inquest into 2016 death of Port Alberni woman was supposed to start July 6

Port Alberni’s Joe Hill celebrates 90th birthday with waves through a window

Retired accountant receives best wishes via Zoom, meets newborn great-grandchild

Alberni Golf Club reopens with new COVID-19 rules

J and L Mixed Scramble kicks off 2020 season

Help is available for Port Alberni businesses restarting after COVID-19 closures

Popular food truck finds a new location on Johnston Road

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Most Read