Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Aerial view of the southern part of the Great Bear Rain Forest

Garth Lenz/ The Globe and Mail/Garth Lenz/ The Globe and Mail

The B.C. government declared the end of the war in the woods two years ago when it established the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest remaining intact temperate rain forest in the world.

But photographs released this week by environmentalists show a landscape scarred by fresh clearcuts - each cutblock an average of 18 hectares in size. The war isn't over yet.

The logging is allowed under the deal environmentalists and logging firms signed on to in 2009. Environmental groups, under the umbrella of the Rainforest Solutions Project, say the recent logging activity they documented shows that the conservation pact doesn't do enough to protect the region.

Story continues below advertisement

Now Premier Christy Clark is being asked to take the Great Bear Rainforest deal and make it her own - by increasing the ratio of protected forestland.

"Your government's leadership is important for achieving the full and timely implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements," states a letter to the Premier signed by five forest industry firms and three environmental groups that have been working together to reach the target of preserving 70 per cent of the protected area.

The current agreement protects only half of the Great Bear Rainforest's six million hectares of land, which stretches along the B.C. coast from just north of Vancouver Island to the Alaska Panhandle.

While the goal is to move to 70 per cent preservation by 2014, the rules established two years ago call for "low-impact logging regulations that will conserve 50 per cent of the natural range of old growth forests."

The region is home to 1,500-year-old trees and exotic species, including the rare white Kermode bear - also known as B.C.'s Spirit Bear. It has been targeted for preservation by environmental groups since the 1990s. The groups organized boycotts of B.C. forest products until government and industry came to the table and agreed to change the way logging is done.

That deal, forged in 2000, formalized in 2006 and codified in 2009, was hailed as a landmark agreement between the forest industry and environmentalists, and earned British Columbia headlines around the world.

"What you are seeing in those photographs is not illegal," said Valerie Langer of ForestEthics, one of the parties to the pact. Environmentalists accepted a compromise, she said, because they recognized that the forest industry needed time to make the transition to new logging practices. But she said the government has not lived up to its commitment to details, such as creating maps that would designate where logging is permissible.

Story continues below advertisement

"Let's not wait any longer, let's make the Great Bear Rainforest agreement real, on the ground, now," she said in an interview.

The photos show harvesting by TimberWest, the largest logging company in the region that did not sign on to the agreement. The company, however, is bound to adhere to the logging limits set out in the 2009 deal.

TimberWest spokeswoman Sue Handel said the company is disappointed to be singled out by Rainforest Solutions just weeks after the group initiated talks to bring the forest company on board.

"It was only early in June that Rainforest Solutions contacted us to talk about us signing on," she said. "We support the model and we hope to continue that conversation."

She said the photos show recent logging in the company's tree farm licence No. 47, where 90 per cent of the harvest is from second-growth timber stands.

Patrick Armstrong, a spokesman for the consortium of forest industry companies that have already signed on to the agreement, said his group has been working with Rainforest Solutions to reach the targets that were originally proposed, which would protect 70 per cent of the region.

Story continues below advertisement

"We call the project 'above the line,' " he said. He said forest practices have improved significantly since the environmentalists first campaigned for the region, but he said it is slow work. "This was a process, not an event; it was about saying we are going to reinvent the way we do logging," he said. "We're making steady forward progress."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies