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FORESTS: Failed BC Compromise Shows Need for No More Ancient Forest Logging September 19, 2005 9:45 PM

FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY
Failed BC Compromise Shows Need for No More Ancient Forest Logging
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Forests.org a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.
 
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September 19, 2005
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Forests.org

The following intriguing article questions the effectiveness of agreements
reached between environmentalists and Canada's provincial British Columbia
(BC) government to protect priceless temperate rainforest wildernesses
including the Great Bear Rainforest.  Covering some 20 million acres of
endangered temperate rainforest, the Great Bear Rainforest is the most
lucrative final frontier forest in North America.  The article asks
whether campaigns to reform industrial logging of old-growth forests can
meaningfully succeed in promoting lasting forest conservation.

After years of environmental campaigns by the likes of Greenpeace and the
Rainforest Action Network, which lead to many promises of reformed logging
practices, eighty percent of the BC timber harvest continues to be derived
from primeval ancient forests.  And the new "consensus" document supported
by many foundation-fat environmental groups plans that 80% of these
forests will be logged and only remain as 20% protected areas.  To their
credit, Rainforest Action Network now admits that the deal has terrible
consequences for British Columbia's rainforests.  In effect their and
others' campaigns to reform logging to make it "sustainable" and
"certified" gave green cover for old growth logging to continue and
recover from campaigns to end these practices. 

The article stridently concludes that "compromise collaborationism with a
voracious industrial menace will never protect the final forests of the
world. British Columbian's (and I would add the world) should quit
supporting any environmental organization which does not have NO MORE
ANCIENT FOREST LOGGING, as its primary, uncompromising stance."  By
failing to understand that voracious industrial destruction of forests can
never be "sustainable", groups like Greenpeace are as dangerous as the
corporations they use to intervene against.  You are either for protection
and community eco-forestry management in the world's last dwindling
old-growth forests or you are part of the problem, aiding and abetting
destruction of the Earth's life-giving ecological heritage.  Pick a forest
and stop the industrial logging.
g.b.

Comments to:
http://forests.org/blog/2005/09/failed_bc_compromise_shows_nee.html#comments

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RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title:  Compromise with a Chainsaw in the Rainforests of British Columbia
  Going, Going, Almost Gone....
Source: Copyright 2005, CounterPunch
Date: September 19, 2005
Byline:  INGMAR LEE

In December 2002, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell wrote the New
York Times to tell Americans that all was well in the BC Forests. A
negative article about ancient forest destruction and the impending
extinction of the Spotted Owl had appeared in the newspaper, and Campbell
wished to set the record straight with American consumers. He wrote that
"habitat decisions are made with the best available understanding of
scientific and socioeconomic factors affecting species sustainability, not
with lumber interests solely in mind." His final statement in that letter
sums up the esurient hypocrisy that has characterized the biggest ramp-up
of ancient forest destruction in 150 years of industrial logging in BC
under his watch: "There is more old-growth in British Columbia than 100
years ago, amounting to 62 million acres. That total is projected to
increase in the century ahead."

In British Columbia, forestry science is specifically bought and
controlled to prove that black is white. It's no wonder that the
fanaticism of scientism has garnered such unquestioned support amongst
those whose primary religion involves nothing other that the making of
money. Seven of Campbell's top-ten 'corporate contributions' (a euphemism
for quasi-legal bribery) for his 2001 election campaign were from giant
logging interests, and British Columbian's know that it's the
Weyerhaeusers, CANFOR's and Interfors who call the tune on BC forest
policies. The transnational logging industry simply bought themselves a BC
government for the shameful pittance of around a million bucks over 10
years. But having bought the science, as well as the government to
prosyletize it, this still couldn't placate an increasingly sceptical and
alarmed public that isn't buying the bull.

Campbell took a beating in the 2005 election over his George Bush style
"green-as-an-oil-slick" environmental policies. His was a government that
axed the entire Ministry of the Environment and tried to privatise the
entire British Columbia public landbase for the logging industry. The
electors of BC sent a powerful message to the industry/government
consortium that environment is a priority on a planet facing ever more
disturbing ecological catastrophe. The Premier's spin-stories about
increasing amounts of old-growth  [ send green star]
 
 September 19, 2005 9:48 PM

in a province with an annual 70 million
cubic metre cut, the scam of 'variable retention' logging, and the biggest
lie of all, ~that voracious industrial destruction of forests was in any
way sustainable were wearing thin. Yet the avalanche of regressive
anti-environmental legislation and the onslaught of destruction on the
ground during 4 years of Campbell was so sweeping, it completely
overwhelmed any voices pleading for sanity in the beleagured BC forests.

Such a trashing of BC's magnificent forested landbase is having severe
negative consequences for the economy and ecology of the province, and the
spin-meisters know that the seething undercurrent of outrage and despair
are bound to develop traction, sooner, rather than later. Progressive
customers around the world are demanding ethically-produced forest
products, especially products which are not derived from the destruction
of ancient forests. While the big companies log like there's no tomorrow,
forest-dependent communities, forest workers and First Nations have been
atrociously abused and they are getting more and more agitated. Logging
has never approached sustainability in BC, contrary to decades of
propaganda, and today, more than 80% of the BC timber harvest continues to
be derived from primaeval frontier forests. Big Logging and the
global-warming-induced Mountain Pine beetle epidemic are now locked in a
flat out race to exterminate the provinces interior forests, and with all
easily accessible coastal forests on Vancouver Island and the mainland
inlets now exhausted, including second-growth forests mowed down to the
30-40-year-old age class, the insatiable eye of industrial logging has now
set its sights onto that most lucrative final frontier forest on the
continent: the 20 million acre tract of endangered temperate rainforest
which has become known as the "Great Bear Rainforest" (GBR).

To acquire unfettered access to the timber, the government/industry
consortium required further buy-in from its most troublesome critics,
namely BC's largest environmental organizations, who had once positioned
themselves in the preceding decade as a major threat to the global market
for BC forest products. Highly successful international market campaigns
identified the grossest destroyers of wilderness, and by staging effective
protests at retail outlets, consumers around the world began to shun BC
forest products. People are recognizing the impending ecological disaster,
and with the loss of ancient forests as one of its most prominent
features, the logging interests liquidation scheme for the Great Bear
Rainforest needed some big-name Greenwash. That's when Weyerhaeuser,
Interfor, Canfor, Western Forest Products and Norske Skog decided to sit
down with Greenpeace, the BC Sierra Club, Forest Ethics and the Rainforest
Action Network, known collectively as the Rainfrest Solutions Project
(RSP), to see how they might legitimize their rapacious scheme.

To get things rolling, 17 independent scientists were appointed by
government, industry and the environmental groups to study the GBR area
for 3 years. But when the results of the study finally came in, it threw a
big wrench into the logging company's hopes for the area. The scientists
analysis concluded that between 44% and 60% of the GBR was essential for
preservation in order to guarantee species survival. Even so, the team
found that this amount of protection from logging, mining and hunting
would only ensure that 30% of the most important habitat of all focal
species of the area would be protected. Well that just wasn't going to cut
it for the companies which were slathering at a vastly larger cut, so the
wheeling and dealing began in earnest. Astoundingly, in January 2004,
without any discussion, consultation, democratic process or mandate from
the people of BC, or even from the larger BC environmental community, the
RSP negotiators emerged with a compromise concensus deal with industry,
and agreed to shelve the independent scientific conclusion. Now the
pressure is on Gordon Campbell to finally endorse the deal. There's little
doubt that this will happen, and the industry is already sharpening its
saws.

These American-foundation-funded environmental groups had inexplicably
sold out the GBR forest and cut up the pie accordingly: industrial
logging: about 80%, protected areas: 20%. Immediately, in December 2003,
before news of the 'concensus' even went public, and years prior to
Campbell's official sign-on, the BC government was sending out faxes to
its lumber customers all around the world, announcing that "Peace in the
Woods" had been achieved, and all ethical obstacles to the purchase of BC
forest products had been resolved. Meanwhile, during the period of
'talk-and-log' negotiations, full-on destructive clearcutting continued
apace in the GBR, and under the deal, will continue until 2009. According
to a David Suzuki Foundation study, since 2001, when the GBR discussions
first began, 74% of all logging which has occurred on more than 600
cutblocks in the GBR forest has been by clearcutting, with 46% of it in
the regions most productive salmon-bearing watersheds. Only 8% of salmon
creeks which flowed through these cutblocks were properly protected. More
than 65% of the most critical areas of the GBR will be available for
logging and other development.

The Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) Handbook which is being hailed by the
RSP as the primary excuse for the embarrassingly small amount of protected
areas offers no legally binding changes to the status  [ send green star]
 
 September 19, 2005 9:48 PM

quo described above.
In fact, the EBM version being put forward as groundbreaking for the GBR
is nothing more than a recommendation which will allow the massive
industrial exploitation of these forests to continue. From the Suzuki
website: "[Our] analysis concludes that few elements of the Coast
Information Team (CIT ) recommended prescription for EBM remain in
proposed land-use agreements, thereby seriously reducing the effectiveness
of the landuse plans in protecting biodiversity on the landscape outside
of proposed protected areas...To date, the BC government and forest
industry have not demonstrated the slightest willingness to ratify even a
small number of important EBM principles and have proposed that
consideration of the full suite of EBM recommendations proposed by the CIT
could take another four years to complete, thereby providing the forest
industry with an open playing field and no requirements to improve logging
standards to meet EBM requirements. Essentially, this means more 'talk and
log.'"

Nobody, neither the industry, nor the RSP has much of an idea what EBM as
slated for the GBR will look like, and there is zero regulatory enactment
to define it. From the RSP's own website: "Ultimately, a shallow
application of EBM based on a wavering commitment will not cut it. The
implementation of EBM must be stringent and entrenched, or otherwise, the
long-term health of Great Bear Rainforest will remain in jeopardy." Bill
Bourgeois, spokesperson for the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative, a
coalition of Canadian Forest Products, Western Forest Products,
International Forest Products, Weyerhaeuser and Norske Canada, the parties
which want to log the GBR, states that "Work has already begun, but
[foresters] need further clarification on how to implement EBM. It's one
thing to have it written down on paper and another when you are standing
on the edge of a creek deciding which to cut and not cut and why," he
says. He adds that "government must act, not only to ensure certainty for
the forest companies, but in order for them to fully implement this new
way of doing forestry on the ground." Bourgeois said it has taken longer
to bring about on-the-ground changes than anticipated but logging
companies are voluntarily moving towards ecosystem-based management
without the actual plan and guidelines in place. There are still examples
of clear-cut logging, he said, as roads and cutting plans are developed
years in advance.

Voluntarily, eh? Indeed.

It's clear that Gordon Campbell will sign the deal, all the current
"Stand-Tall for the GBR ~write the Premier Now" RSP hype notwithstanding.
Obviously, if Weyerhaeuser etc. think this is a great deal, Gordo will
certainly sign. He wavered on signing it just before the recent election,
but wimped out at the eleventh hour. I doubt if that was a politically
expedient calculation for him, as his tardiness in appearing to "turn over
a new leaf" cost him the re-election of most of his obviously pro-logging
MLA's. His imminent endorsement of the deal will perpetuate his use of
'pseudo-science' to justify the sustainability of BC's forest practices,
proving the outright lie of his NYT article . But what about the
"socioeconomic" considerations he promised? According to Will Horter of
the Dogwood Initiative, a BC Environmental think-tank, "in the North Coast
Forest District, home to a big portion of the yet unprotected Great Bear
Rainforest, over 85% of the logging produces only 25 cents a cubic metre."
Horter asks, "Would you allow someone to log a tree the size of the
average Canadian telephone pole from your backyard and pay you only a
quarter?..." This is exactly the kind of BC tax-payer subsidy that
Campbell has lavished on his logging industry friends which has brought
about the disastrous US Softwood Lumber tariffs, which have so devasted
revenues derived from the BC forests. The American lumber industry quite
rightly argues that Campbell virtually gives away the public forest to the
companies. This enormous giveaway of irreplaceable ancient forests exposes
the other lie in his NYT statement, and makes it clear that forest policy
BC-style is completely framed "with lumber interests solely in mind."

Finally, why, oh why are BC's largest environmental organizations agreeing
to this unprecedented giveaway of one of the Earth's most precious final
tracts of wilderness? How is it that our society's so-believed primary
defenders of the environment have compromised so much with those who will
destroy it so utterly? Even the Rainforest Action Network admits that the
deal has terrible consequences for forests far beyond the GBR. From their
"BuyGoodWood" website: "RAN also acknowledges that the consensus failed to
live up to the recommendations of the Coast Information Team and the
balance of scientific opinion stating that the plan leaves these fragile
ecosystems and the life that they support at risk. Specifically, the
concensus only protects 22% of the Central Coast landbase with a further
11% off-limits to logging and hydro-electric development, but open to
mining and road building that could substantially erode forest habitat.
Moreover, RAN is deeply concerned that the central coast recommendations
are being used to validate habitat destruction on Vancouver Island and
elsewhere in the province. Already, companies like Weyerhaeuser are using
the concensus in the media as a green-ticket for their old-growth logging
operations thro  [ send green star]
 
 September 19, 2005 9:50 PM

throughout Canada."

This deal cannot be based on any sense of "trust" that the Weyerhaeuser's
and ilk will finally live up to the hallucinatory pipe-dream of an as-yet
un-defined "EBM" standard in their logging practices. Weyerhaeuser, the
company that invaded, occupied and massacred Vancouver Island for 7 years
and then 'cut and ran' is the world's largest forest destroyer. There is
not a single precedent in all of BC's sorry logging history which
demonstrates any semblance of ethical practices by a single one of these
players. Tragically, there appears to be only one single rationale which
has made such quisling compromise possible, ~it's all about the money
Heather Ramsay quotes Merran Smith in a recent article which appears on
"The Tyee" website, "Landmark Great Bear Agreement Is Down to the Wire."
Smith, one of the RSP negotiators, argues that "one of their biggest
concerns is the potential for $200 million in pledged conservation
financing to fall apart, [should Campbell fail to endorse the deal]
leaving a myriad of First Nations and coastal community projects, like
shellfish aquaculture, tourism, non-timber forest products and sustainable
logging to fail.Smith says the money, raised from private industry,
government and foundations, became an important piece of the complicated
Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, because communities demanded it.
Environmental groups helped to secure $110 million dollars intended to
help First Nations implement the land-use plans in their territories,
Smith says. Some of the money will become seed capital for business
ventures and some will be set aside to help First Nations go about the
physical task of managing and monitoring the streams, forest and ocean.
She sees it as one way to help First Nations build capacity and control in
their territories. An additional $80 million in socially responsible
investment dollars may be available to larger communities like Prince
Rupert for sound business projects."

Indeed. So the funding lined up by the RSP for the so-called benefit of
coastal First Nations is only contingent on the giant logging companies
having their way with the place.

At 25 cents a cubic metre in stumpage revenue to the taxpayer for the
logging of 80% the GBR, the logging industry cut will totally dwarf that
measely $200 million. We're talking a trade-off of the equivalent value of
200 Victoria waterfront homes, ~in exchange for the Earth's largest,
contiguous remaining tract of intact temperate rainforest! That forest is
simply priceless, -irreplaceable. The entirely unceded forested lands of
the GBR already belong entirely to the First Nations of that coast . Why
not follow the example of the Haida who have recently so ably demonstrated
what it really takes to rid their forests of the rapacious scourge of
Weyerhaeuser and ilk? There is no need to negotiate, nor is there any
moral justification for environmentalists to cut big, ugly compromise
deals with those who would destroy the final forests of the planet.
Working together with First Nations AGAINST these destroyers, we could
seriously damage the current BC forest industry for the benefit of all. We
should have stayed the course with the market campaigns, and only by
working together with First Nations to rid the province of the scourge of
Big Logging and its lying Gordon Campbell lackies.

Compromise collaborationism with a voracious industrial menace will never
protect the final forests of the world. British Columbian's should quit
supporting any environmental organization which does not have NO MORE
ANCIENT FOREST LOGGING, as its primary, uncompromising stance. As Paul
Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says: "Greenpeace
protests, we intervene." Greenpeace has removed that kind of active
interference from its arsenal. Greenpeace is a corporation now,"

We are rapidly losing all of the Earth's final, irreplaceable primaeval
forests. The loss of these forests is a global emergency!! Massive
extinctions of intricate biodiversity accompany the destruction. When will
people finally act to protect wilderness?? When there's 15% left? 10%? 5%?
It's going, going and so nearly almost gone.

Ingmar Lee has planted more than 1,000,000 trees in the clearcuts of
British Columbia in his 21 year career as a professional treeplanter.

 [ send green star]
 
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