Virtually every tree that is cut or removed in B.C. would be replaced under the provisions of a bill introduced in the provincial legislature. ((istock))

Every tree that's cut down by the forest industry in British Columbia will soon have to be replaced by a new seedling as part of the provincial government's plans to fight climate change.

Forests Minister Pat Bell introduced legislation Monday that would require that an equal area of trees be planted as is cleared from forest land for other uses.

The Zero Net Deforestation Act will help B.C. reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change because the replanted forests will absorb and store carbon, Bell said.

The act is part of the B.C. government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020, and defines deforestation as the permanent loss of trees from a given area.

Bell said the government hopes the newly created forest land will be equal or greater to what's been lost by 2015.

Timber harvesting is not considered deforestation by the government because the government says it is already managed sustainably.

At least one environmental group with an emphasis on forestry supports the bill

Michael Rosen, the president of the non-profit group Tree Canada, said the province should be commended for introducing the policy.