Failed BC Compromise Shows Need for No More Ancient Forest Logging

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.

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6 Responses

  1. Michael Major says:

    Hi Glen, thanks very much for reviewing Ingmar's counterpunch article on the portal. The government of BC will be announcing its Great Bear Rainforest solution very soon and with the credulous assistance of the RSP's (Rainforest Solutions Project) environmental members it may be the final solution for the remaining great bears and wild salmon of the Great Bear Rainforest. Not all the BC engos are involved in the RSP and notably absent from this PR initiative are coast forest ecological experts Suzuki Foundation, Valhalla Wilderness Society and Raincoast Conservation Society. There has been a full court press to eliminate environmental criticism and opposition as well as to dumb down public expectations with promises about vague EBM (ecosystem based management) bean stalks to sustainability that may begin being implemented in five years or so when there is a lot less old growth left. The RSP enviros were heavily financed to play the collaborative role and abandoned their brains and skepticism at the door. The RSP experiment with collaboration and compromise has spawned another huge forest development initiative to emulate its industrial GBR PR success. This new franchise in incremental environmentalism and radical industrial development is the Canadian Boreal Initiative funded by Pew and Ducks Unlimited. It will promote the accelerated liquidation of Canada's boreal forest region exclusively by Suncor Energy and forest industrials Tembec, Alpac and Domtar. They offer a trade in return for permission, no horse head in your bed, 50% of the landbase in protected areas and a lot of environmental management jobs monitoring the “progress”. Cheers, Michael Major\

  2. John Wall says:

    For further information, see “Proposed land use plans for Great Bear Rainforest scientifically inadequate”, Raincoast Conservation Society, http://www.raincoast.org/rainforest/index.htm
    RAN may have received some lumps of coal in their postpaid fundraising envelopes, as they have posted a self-serving Statement Regarding the BC LRMP Consensus, though not on their own domain: http://www.buygoodwood.com/greatbear.html
    Cutting through the gobbledygook in an essay that purports to support the consensus, we find the following admission: “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 proposed plan leaves these fragile ecosystems and the life that they support at risk. Specifically, the consensus agreement fully protects only 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.”
    I have been unable to find a complete or honest discussion of the Great Bear Rainforest LRMP consensus on the websites of any of the environmental groups involved. However, everyone who has donated to an environmental group in the recent past has been inundated with fundraising mailings denouncing the Bush Administration for rejecting scientific expert opinions and evidence. The coalition of environmental groups clearly has done the same in this case. At least the politicians blatantly admit that they are for sale to the highest bidder.
    As the final insult, will wood from the old growth Great Bear Rainforest be FSC Certified because the logging will be conducted pursuant to an agreement approved by Big Green environmental groups?

  3. Iona says:

    Dear Doctor Glen,
    WOW! Thanks so much. I was just about to start working here in
    Pennsylvania to convince people to switch to sustainable logging. Now, on
    second thought, I suppose it's still a good idea on private land which has
    already been logged. But you make a wonderful point about fighting to keep
    the damn loggers out of ancient forests.
    We live in a forested community in the hills of Southern Huntingdon County
    and our neighbor is doing extensive logging on his land. We are helpless
    and I'm infuriated. I hate his ignorance and greed. He's comfortably
    retired and doesn't need the money. He got so angry when we spoke with his
    logger that he has prohibited us from entering his road. I long to take
    photos of the destruction but will probably ask a friend to do so.
    People are repugnant sometimes.
    You might enjoy my latest newspaper, which I'll attach. My lawn story is
    grassroots activism at its lowest level. Feel free to forward it along if
    you so choose.
    For the Earth,
    Iona

  4. comments posted about Glen Barry's article on BC enviro listserve Landwatch:
    I've had some dealings with Dr. Barry and admire his work, esp his use of
    the net as an activist. But I think he belongs to a strictly preservationist approach to protecting forests and, like others on this listserve, doesn't appreciate the Mid-Coast TSA situation nor RSP actions in trying to protect forest health in what they branded the GBR.
    There is a major disconnect here. Dr. Barry, the recent Reed Noss et el VanSun op-ed, the various ENGO dissenting reports on the 'GBR deal' and
    commentators on this listserve repeatedly point out that the final
    complex product of several parallel processes negotiating a comprehensive
    landuse plan – a 'deal' that probably won't be signed off by the Lib
    gov't – does not completely protect enough of the GBR so as to protect
    forest ecosystems and the bears, fish, etc that live there.
    Now all of us on this listserve know that protecting the health of these forest ecosystems from an obviously destructive logging, oil production and mining regimes is essential. Most of us would look at the history of logging on the coast, the percentage of the coast wastefully liquidated and the value of the remaining forest and say a fair deal would be
    complete preservation of the whole area and we would be joined worldwide
    by those concerned with managing man to protect vital remaining
    ecological systems and their biodiversity, frontier forests in this
    example.
    So why then isn't this the deal that the RSP groups – who after all
    successfully created the opportunity to end the liquidation-conversion
    schedule with their marketing campaign – are trying for?
    Dr. Barry and those commentators on this listserve who just expect that primeval forests should not be logged because they recognize their value and our Bottleneck predicament don't adequately appreciate the impossibility of their position.
    A decade ago the enviro movement was trying to complete the 12% deal – no
    longer the 12% of every ecosystem at least, but the protection of 12%
    of the landbase even though it was going to end up mostly rock and
    ice. Does anybody remember Special Management Zones? Shouldn't these enviros have been aiming at protecting 50-60% of the landscape?
    Did the enviros who pushed themselves into the negotiations have complete
    enviro support? -Many of us in the forest caucus saw the needed deal
    much differently.
    Would the 12% ensure ecosystem health across the landscape? – Not even
    part of the argument at the time because the percentage of park protection required was impossible in our socio-economic system.
    Were the enviros negotiating parks selling out? Huh? – come on, they had worked hard to try and get what was possible and had prised open public
    consciousness as well. Whether these activists managed to protect as much
    forest as was possible through a focus on park protection is debatable
    – I was on the other side and still think focusing upon getting out
    of SY would have been a better strategy but that's only a minor
    dissenting opinion.
    It all comes down to what is possible. Most of us would like no more
    coastal logging industry wrecking havoc. But when you look at the history, the timber schedules and legacies, the billions of dollars infrastructure built on the contracted promise of a certain level of fibre flow; when you look at the history of the industry, missed
    opportunities and present problems in challenging markets; and when you
    look at policy change in our cabinet dictatorship, service economy
    governments, where any policy change cannot impact any of the local
    riding economies by more than even a couple of percentage
    points:
    WHAT DEGREE OF CHANGE AWAY FROM EXISTING GROSSLY INFLATED SY HARVESTING
    LEVELS AND METHODS IS POSSIBLE?
    What change is possible and whether the GBR campaign achieved this level
    of change is the real evaluation of the RSP endeavor. That and
    concsiousness raising.
    Reading the many critical takes on the RSP initiative holding out for what we all think would be best and taking no account of the
    political-economic reality out here reminds me of dark matter in the
    universe.
    The citizens in the GBR, citizens out side the GBR dependent upon the
    forest industry and majority of citizens in the province don't want the
    GBR we want. Well, closer to reality, they can't afford the degree of
    change we think necessary.
    Ya, they are wrong and shortsighted but that is the reality that those
    criticizing from the sidelines and using descriptors such as sellout
    choose to ignore, can ignore because you can shout whatever you want from
    the sidelines and advocate pure and impossible deals in rightious ignorance. If you were in charge the home team would be winning,
    right?
    This does not mean that enviros have to accept bad deals. This does not
    mean that we could or should be monolithic in support of any GBR like
    deal – diverse strategies and dissenting opinions should be encouraged.
    But if you think 30% of the landbase protected, wide agreement on what
    ecosystem-based forestry would be like, informed ConBio scientific study
    of this contentious area and alternative local economic development
    within new FN – gov't protocols for joint management isn't enough show me
    (and probably the RSP players) what you can do that practically promises
    a better outcome. Against tough opponents in deteriorating times.

  5. Sarah Johnson says:

    Ingmar Lee reveals his ignorance about what's really going on
    in the great bear rainforest.
    The meetings were not 'secret' as he purports like some giant conspiracy but
    were announced everywhere in the news several years ago when the companies
    got scared by Greenpeace's boycotts and agreed to sit down and negotiate new
    parks. Apparently Ingmar Lee doesn't watch the news or stay very informed,
    he'd rather conjure up his own version of situations to suit his need to
    inflate himself above other environmentalists.
    Lee is also wrong when he says the agreement only protects 20% of the area
    from logging. It's actually 33%. Looks like a big leap forward to me. Though
    I'd like to know more about whether the companies get compensated. That
    would be silly.
    Lee is foolish when he often insinuates in his articles that blockades are the only effective
    tactic. By that simplistic thinking virtually everyone reading this is a
    fucking sellout for not constantly blockading including Lee himself! There
    are no 'small groups of anarchists' holding back the government, as he says in his “Campbell Balks at Great Bear Rainforest” interview also posted here but with no space for comments (how democratic is that??). They barely
    make a blip in the public eye. It's the big groups with the big power and
    the big influence. Unions and big organizations. The NDP opposition, too.
    Pay attention you pompous imbecile.
    Anyways, the negotiations came into existence through blockades and boycotts. That's the only reason the companies are willing to protect 33% of the area instead of 0%. Again, think about it, pay some fucking attention you pea brain.
    I was at a green party convention years ago where Lee chastised everyone for
    not protesting or doing enough for the Slocan valley. The room was actually
    full of Slocan arrestees. Lee on the other hand had never been arrested or
    even set foot at a Slocan blockade! He was exposed as an arrogant fool and
    voted off the provincial council by all the members. Then he storms off
    saying 'there's no room for activists' in the green party 'like me', when in
    fact the room was filled with much older veteran activists and arrestees
    from numerous blockades. What pompous arrogance.
    One thing that Greenpeace should be criticised for is its stance to ban “trophy hunting” of grizzlies (actually the meat must be eaten by law). There are 16 000 grizzlies in BC or 4 times the number originally estimated. These are the latest scientific estimates. Native people have hunted and eaten grizzlies for 10000 years. If it worked for them, why not here as long as the population is healthy? But that's another topic.
    Lee has too much arrogance, ego and is too full of false info to be taken
    seriously. He's well known for that in BC. Which is why it is disgusting that “Dr. Glen Barry” has jumped onto his intellectually / factually / analytically inferior views without even checking into what's really going on in BC and asking the other activists! You ruin your credibility with intelligent people, Dr. Barry, by being so quick to jump in with the lowly without actually looking into it.
    Sarah Johnson, Vancouver, BC

  6. Ryan says:

    Hello, I am reading your article because i came across it through a search. Myself, I live on Vancouver Island. Where there is these ancient forests' that are in danger. What's at risk here, is it our economy, our history, our pride? I would say this province is mainly built on forestry. No one wants to quit that title. I believe that with these ancient forests, the most mystical , awesome, beautiful trees. From large cedars, to douglas firs. They are irreplacable. I've been doing a lot of reading online about these forests, and how they are in danger. Unprotected old growth stands, in danger of clear-cut. In this world, i thought we save species, from extinction. We do this with animals, living breathing animals. Trees, are also living. Why can't we save this breed of the most magnificent beautys of nature ? Largest of living matter. Just purely to be murdered for corporate living. The most prized beautys, are becoming extinct. Alas, man outdone itself, shown it's greed. Who's to suffer? Not only our children who probably won't be able to see them only in photographs. But also the eco-systems that rely on them to flourish. Hollowed out cedar trunks, where black bears made winter dens and raise their cubs. That is just one animal that is harmed by this, there are also many more. This has all been said and done, but i'm hoping more people will go out there, and voice their opinions. I am slowly starting my way into this, and my love for the primeval forests' of British Columbia, and around the world. Thanks for forums like this. Maybe we can stop it, before it's gone tomorrow.

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