Weyerhaeuser’s Predatory Logging in Canadian Boreal, Inadequate Campaign Response

Below is disturbing information regarding illegal logging of the Canadian Boreal by Weyerhaeuser. There is a vibrant campaign that is showing signs of success in defending this massive and magnificent old-growth forest ecosystem. In the story below, the groups which include the Rainforest Action Network correctly highlight the predatory, law-breaking behavior of industrial loggers. Weyerhaeuser was found to have exceeded its logging and road building allowances to supply corporations including Xerox with paper. Shockingly, this corporate criminality was certified as being “sustainable” by a patsy industry certification organization.
However, where the campaign goes wrong is identifying achievement of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification as the desirable alternative. Canada's ancient boreal forests power planetary ecosystem functions ? these ancient behemoth trees should not be used to make paper or plywood. FSC certified industrial logging still involves bull-dozers rumbling through ancient forests, irreducibly diminishing an ecological treasure. No natural primary forest has ever been harvested more than a couple times under such standards. Yet implicitly FSC's green rhetoric, with which even WWF, RAN and Greenpeace have become enamored, suggests that their standards are environmentally benign. This is far from the truth. In reality, these areas will be further reduced with each harvest, eventually becoming virtually tree plantations.


The Earth has surpassed the amount of standing old-growth forests required for global ecological sustainability. The forest conservation movement would be well served by trying to end industrial logging of primary forests, rather than make it a bit less deadly. I understand the logic that certification as a strategy seems reasonable. But the ecological facts are incontrovertible: 80% of ancient forests are already gone, first time industrial forestry in primary forests permanently changes them, and even FSC's standards provide no guarantees of ecological sustainability of forest management. The answer is to limit FSC certification of industrial forestry to secondary and natural planted forests, while only certifying community based small scale eco-forestry in ancient primary forests. And simply leaving ancient forest ecosystems alone, while helping them to expand, is always by far the best outcome, however difficult it may be to achieve. Planetary survival will not come easily.
Well intended but ecologically depauperate forest conservation strategies must be confronted before there is nothing left. It is better that forest campaign strategies in our last old-growth cathedrals are somewhat na

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2 Responses

  1. craig hart says:

    The northern boreal forest should in part,(around 50 percent) be left entirely entirely alone.What people tend to forget is the time period it takes old growth forests to re establish in high latitudes, if they ever do. This means that harvesting a high latitude forest if it must be done, can only be repeated at a much less frequent interval than say a moist temperate coniferous forest (80 years), meaning that in the fast paced world of corporate fibre gleaning and diminishing and competitive markets the chances to ever get another crop from a logged of old growth boreal forest are so long as to be meaningless. In the mean time the forest is harvested with an eye (so called) to replacing it at some time soon. The energy in the soil needed to support and sustain old growth values is considerable, much more than is available after the forest has been logged and replanted as a plantation forest. Unless all levels of government agree that the probability of re logging a replanted forest any time soon are negligable in the modern sense of the word, then assurances must be made that large tracts of boreal forest be off limits to unsustainable loggers such as Wayerhaeser whose reputation in the tropics, in the western ,and southern United States, as well as in B.C. is already abysmal.Here I am talking about the conversion to tree plantations of large areas of the Queen Charlotte Islands, not to mention the already largely converted areas that Wayerhaeser's predecesor McMillan Bloedel has already logged and replanted. Wayerhaeser's so called commitment to FSC standards are no guarantee that the boreal forests will always exist, quite to the contrary, unless steps are taken to limit corporate initiatives like those being exercised in northern Canada, no boreal forest of any rank will exist in the future.

  2. Robb Wilkin says:

    It's so refreshing to find insightful and objective dialogue on our forestry crisis here in Canada.
    Like others, I am sick to death of the bogus “sustainable development” dogma coming out of CBI and other high profile environmental consortiums.
    There are unquestionably some great minds at work
    on the Boreal crisis, but they seem always to be negotiating some kind of abstract balance between commerce and nature.
    Like such an arrangement is even plausible!
    Industry has no role in the Boreal excepting one of harm.
    The sooner Cathy Wilkinson and her cronies admit to the futility of what they're woking towards the better.
    We need a moratorium not a framework or management protocol!
    Why aren't we looking for constructive solutions outside of Boreal to reduce commercial pressure on the region?
    There's more than enough, cleared farmland in this country to provide alternative biomass, pulp etc.

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