Forestry Facts on Gulf Islands

Madrone Environmental Services Ltd. Expert Report on Forest Cover

The Islands Trust is suggesting some new, heavy-handed intervention and regulation on tree-cutting on your private property.  This flies in the face of a recent expert, independent environmental consultant report that found only 1.5%
of the Gulf Islands area was harvested over a ten-year period.
That means an annual average of 0.15%; a rate that is well under annual forest growth and well within sustainability guidelines.

Of this total overall, small-scale forestry, the largest share, at 25% (253Ha/953Ha), was harvested on Valdez by the Indigenous on their traditional territory, with adequate Ministry guidelines on reforestation.  BC generally plants three trees for every one cut. In addition, Indigenous land would not even fall under Islands Trust jurisdiction.

See Chart.

Aerial photo of Tree Cover

You can view a YouTube time lapse video here.

Write the Ministers

Please let your Municipal Affairs and Forests Ministers know your concerns with expanding Islands Trust authority over tree-cutting permits, opposing the tree bylaw contained in the Draft New Policy Statement.

Here are some documents you can use for your own emails.
Citizens’ Letter.Additional Content.

Honourable Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs
Copy to Forest Minister Katrine Conroy

Copy us if you can please.



Provincial Government Response to Islands Trust

The Provincial Gov't also questions this ambiguous Islands Trust proposal to regulate treecutting in its three-page letter we’ve uploaded for your convenience.

"Land clearing (removing trees) is often a necessary farm practice to conduct agriculture. These policies may have an adverse impact on agriculture. Ministry staff recommend supporting farming unilaterally."
-Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

Oct. 19, 2021 letter here or click on letter.

Islands Trust Proposed Tree-Cutting Regulation:  Conflict with Provincial  Wildfire Prevention?

Local Gulf Islands (Salt Spring) Resident and forestry expert Jamie Harris wrote to senior provincial government officials, questioning the Islands Trust proposal to regulate tree cutting, with links to relevant facts and research.  See below yellow-highlighted screenshot confirming Islands Trust seeks “authority to regulate tree cutting in the Trust Area”.

  • Read Jamie’s full March 23, 2022 letter here. Excerpts below.


  • As residents of the Islands Trust Area, we respectfully request that the Islands Trust Area NOT be given any further consideration for tree bylaw authority. We agree with your Ministry’s response letter to UBCM on Resolution EB52 stating that tree bylaw authority for rural settings is not supported and we should continue to use our Development Permit processes for tree controls.

  • The Islands Trust began its initiative some time in 2019. The tree bylaw initiative originated from an environment non-governmental organization (ENGO) Raincoast Conservation Foundation, which is partially funded by American environmental interests. These interests are often in direct opposition to the life and interests of local island residents.

  • Since becoming aware of the Islands Trust request to your Ministry for tree bylaw authority, constituents in our rural gulf Islands have voiced their opposition through a webinar, petition (756 signatures) and letters.

  • At a September 21-23, 2021 Trust Council “Tree Cutting Authority for Islands Trust” Breakout Session, many trustees expressed concerns with a tree bylaw citing regulatory concerns and lack of support from their constituents.

  • The Islands Trust lacks any tree/forest regrowth documentation that might support their request for expansion of authority.

  • As stewards of trees/forests on our properties, we also want the freedom to respond to important provincial FireSmart wildfire reduction strategies.

    FireSmart advises homeowners to ensure “Coniferous trees, with cones and needles, are highly flammable and should not be within 10 metres of your home. These include:

    • spruce

    • fir

    • pine

    • cedar

Farmers need Tree-Cutting Ability to Grow our Local Food


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