[forest-americas] CANADA: Clearcut logging continues in Canada’s rainforests


Clearcut logging continues in Canada’s rainforests
January 18, 2003
For immediate release                              
VANCOUVER - Destructive clearcut logging continues in the Great Bear Rainforest
despite historic agreements reached almost two years ago to implement more
environmentally responsible logging and to protect critical areas of Canada’s
rainforests, says a new report by three leading environmental organizations.
This comprehensive report shows that in 72 per cent of the logging completed or
planned between April 4, 2001 - when the British Columbia government and First
Nations signed a landmark agreement – and Jan. 15, 2002 nearly all of the trees
were removed from each logging site.
The report also found that logging continues to the banks of small fish-bearing streams,
which are important habitat for Pacific salmon.
“The eyes of the world were on British Columbia on April 4, 2001 and people believed
this agreement meant that these unique and important rainforests would be conserved
for future generations,” said David Suzuki who spoke at the historic signing ceremony.
“Unfortunately, today we must announce that it is largely business as usual in these
forests in terms of how and how much of them are cut down.”
Findings from the Clearcutting Canada’s Rainforests report include:
ß In the vast majority of logging sites over 80 per cent of the trees were removed;
ß Only four per cent of fish-bearing streams in logging sites had protective stream-side
ß In the majority of sites not enough trees were left behind to sustain species or habitat
that depend on old-growth forests.
Researchers analysed 227 logging plans for individual logging sites on BC’s central and
north coast and Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). They also conducted aerial
surveys of the forests and ground visits to logging sites.
“In the vast majority of logging sites we found that nearly all the trees had been
removed,” said Aran O’Carroll, executive director of Forest Watch of British
“One of the easiest and quickest changes that logging companies could make to
demonstrate a commitment to improved forestry practices would be to leave trees
standing to create buffer zones on small streams critical to fish,” he said. “Our
results show that they have haven't, and in fact only four per cent of the logging plans
we analysed called for mandatory no-logging buffers on small fish streams inside the
logging sites."
The seven First Nations from BC’s central and north coast and Haida Gwaii that are
part of the Turning Point initiative believe that environmentally responsible logging is
needed to conserve what remains of these old-growth forests, which have sustained
their people and cultures for millennia, said Art Sterritt, co-chair of Turning Point, who
also spoke at the April 4, 2001 ceremony.
“We are concerned when we see that logging practices have not really changed since
we reached this agreement,” said Mr. Sterritt. “Clearcut logging is not acceptable in
these forests and we are working with government, the timber companies and
environmental groups to ensure that environmentally responsible practices are
In addition to the First Nations agreement, the province, environmental groups and
timber companies agreed that 20 valleys of extreme ecological and cultural value
would be protected and that many other watersheds would not be logged until
completion of a land-use plan for BC’s central coast. This process is ongoing and the
protected status must stand until it is concluded, the groups say.
The report calls for ecosystem-based management to be practiced in Canada’s
rainforests, which means ending clearcut logging and wider buffer zones for streams.
Forestry regulations in British Columbia do not require any protection of small
fish streams. On U.S. federal lands in the Pacific Northwest a minimum 91-metre
no-logging buffer zone is required on each side of a fish-bearing stream.
"Once again the public has been lied to regarding forest practices in British Columbia,
and the repercussions in the international market place will further damage the
province’s reputation" said Ian McAllister of Raincoast Conservation Society.
"We also fear that given the current rate of logging conservation opportunities are
quickly running out for the Great Bear Rainforest."
Besides being the traditional territories of First Nations for thousands of years,
Canada’s rainforests are home to amazing species like the white Kermode or spirit
bear, the largest grizzly bears in Canada, genetically unique wolves, the
endangered northern goshawk and five species of salmon. Cedar, hemlock, Sitka
spruce and Douglas fir tower in these forests, which support myriad species of
mosses, fungi, lichens and insects.
“Canada’s rainforests are a global ecological treasure which was recognized in April
2001 with these agreements,” said Dr. Suzuki. “We must now live up to the spirit and
intent of the agreements so that future generations will also know this natural

Read the report at http://www.canadianrainforests.org. For more information and to
arrange interviews, please contact Jean Kavanagh at 604-721-9332 (cell) or
604-732-4228. B-roll and still photographs are available.

Pat Rasmussen
Forest-Americas Coordinator
American Lands Alliance
POB 154
Peshastin, WA 98847