The B.C. Green Party is calling for an immediate halt to the logging of old-growth forests on Vancouver Island.

The Greens called on the government to impose a logging moratorium at the B.C. legislature Monday, asking the province to adopt more sustainable forestry practices to protect old-growth ecosystems.

“Our coastal old-growth is not a renewable resource, and there’s not much left,” said MLA Sonia Furstenau, deputy leader of the B.C. Greens.

“Stakeholders and experts are clear that the government is inflating the amount of productive old-growth that’s protected from logging. These globally rare ecosystems support threatened species — including wild salmon — and keep our water and air clean."

The B.C. Green caucus said in a news release that an immediate transition to a "second-growth economy" is necessary to protect the island's remaining untouched old-growth habitats.

“Last year, hundreds of scientists from around the world wrote the NDP government and asked them to protect our rainforests,” Furstenau said.

“A petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures calling for the same was delivered to the legislature. Our B.C. Green offices have received more than 20,000 emails from concerned British Columbians asking why the province continues to eradicate its old-growth."

The Greens accused the NDP government of pursuing the previous Liberal government’s old-growth logging policy.

“Forestry jobs are of critical importance to B.C., but thousands have been lost over the last few decades. That’s because we haven’t been managing our forests sustainably or promoting value-added manufacturing,” said B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen, who shares the role of forestry spokesperson. 

“We want high-paying jobs that are not vulnerable to boom-bust economics. There are mills on Vancouver Island that can only process old-growth. But old-growth is a finite resource, and most of it is already gone. That means those forestry jobs are at risk."

Olsen said investing in value-added manufacturing and refitting existing mills will protect the island's most endangered forest ecosystems.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps voiced her support for the Green initiative, saying, "as serious climate leaders, we must protect Vancouver Island’s remaining old-growth forests for generations to come.”