Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


Hundreds Protest Canada’s Forest Destruction At Global Forest Summit

June 1, 2005

(Vancouver, BC) – Hundreds of concerned citizens and activists from across Canada and the United States rallied today outside the world’s largest forest industry gathering to demand more forest protection and a shift to ecosystem-based logging practices for all of Canada’s endangered forests and endangered species habitat. Demonstrators, dressed as caribou, salmon and bears, highlighted the discrepancy between the summit’s message of sustainability and the ongoing, widespread forest destruction occurring across Canada.

The Global Forest and Paper Summit drew 500 senior forest industry executives and government policy-makers from 17 countries to Vancouver with the goal of creating a ‘vision’ of sustainability for their industry.

“It is ironic that more than 20,000 acres across Canada, an area almost the size of Vancouver, will be logged during this three-day forest summit on sustainability,” said Tzeporah Berman, ForestEthics’s program director. “This summit is not about creating real change – it’s a forum for the same empty talk we’ve been hearing for years.”

In British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, five years of collaboration among industry, environmental organizations, First Nations and stakeholders resulted in one of the most innovative packages for forest protection ever presented, including protecting one-third of the region from logging and fully implementing Ecosystem-Based Management. However, industry has yet to live up to its commitments and clearcutting continues.

“The forest industry endorsed a vision years ago and supported a solutions package for the Great Bear Rainforest, but as a result of government and industry inaction to date nothing has changed on the ground,” said Amanda Carr, Greenpeace forest campaigner.

British Columbia is also presiding over the decimation of the endangered mountain caribou, of which only 1,670 remain (down from 2400 only eight years ago). Companies like West Fraser Timber, Tolko Industries and the British Columbia government’s Timber Sales Program are cutting down the old growth forests on which these animals depend. The fate of caribou across Canada is threatened because of the increased logging of Canada’s boreal forest.

“As the forest industry talks about ‘vision’ to enhance its public relations activities, more endangered species habitat is being destroyed,” said Gwen Barlee, Western Canada Wilderness Committee policy director.

Meanwhile, the marketplace is changing. Major wood and paper customers like Staples and Home Depot have committed to stop buying wood that comes from ancient forests, old growth or endangered forests, and to purchase wood that is logged sustainably.