Greenpeace backgrounder for international offices. The report by the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestWatch and Raincoast Conservation Society, entitled "Clearcutting Canada's Rainforest", shows destructive clearcut logging continues in the Great Bear Rainforest.
The analysis and field work leading to the report were initiated by the three groups to review the progress of B.C. coastal logging companies in implementing changes to forestry practices, as agreed in the April 4, 2001 Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. The findings indicate progress is alarmingly slow. The historic and unprecedented Agreement between companies, environmental groups, First Nations, stakeholders and the provincial government included commitments to increased protection of ancient forests, moratoria on industrial activity in valleys of ecological significance and fundamental changes to industrial logging practices.
Interim protection on 20 pristine rainforest valleys was enacted, but expires in June of 2003. Companies have abided by the moratoria, and the provincial and First Nation land use planning processes, which will determine the final status of these valleys, are ongoing. But as the report's researchers discovered, progress in implementing major changes to logging practices is virtually non-existent.
The report found: - 72 percent of the logging completed or planned between April 4, 2001 (date of the Agreement) and Jan 15, 2002 used clearcutting as the standard logging practice. - 227 logging plans for individual sites were reviewed. In the vast majority, fully 80% of the trees on site were removed during logging operations. B.C. companies increasingly claim they are no longer "clearcutting", while removing 80% of the trees from a given site. - Trees left standing in logging sites are too few to sustain old-growth dependent species and these meager patches cannot be defined as old-growth "habitat". - Logging continues to the banks of small fish-bearing streams, some of which are critical habitat for Pacific salmon. - Only four per cent of small fish streams flowing in logging sites analyzed were left with protective stream-side buffers. In nearby Washington State, loggers on U.S. Federal Lands are required to leave a 90 metre no-logging reserve zone on each side of a fish-bearing stream. British Columbia regulations allow zero protection of small fish streams.
On April 4, 2001, B.C. coastal logging companies committed to transform standard industrial logging practices and adopt an Ecosystem-Based Management approach. The land use planning processes, the independent science and economic teams and stakeholders are still struggling to fully define a mutually accepted standard for "Ecosystem-Based Management". Nonetheless, while this work continues, it is clear that the most egregious practices, such as large scale clearcutting or the eradication of wild salmon habitat, will not fit into any acceptable interpretation of Ecosystem-Based logging.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups involved in the planning process understood the logging companies would begin voluntarily improving practices once the moratorium was in place and market campaign activities were suspended as part of the 2001 agreement.
As this new report demonstrates, improvements to practices are virtually non-existent. Destructive clearcutting of the Great Bear Rainforest continues outside the agreed moratoria areas.
To arrange interviews with Greenpeace forest campaigners Catherine Stewart or Tamara Stark, please contact Natalie Southworth at 1- 604 253-7701 ext. 29, by cel phone at: 604-551-3206 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
. To arrange interviews with authors of the report, please contact Jean Kavanagh at 1-604-721-9332.