Land & Forests

Posted on March 11, 2016

Black and White Bear Cubs in Forest - Photo by Ian McAllisterI have been asked for my opinion of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement (GBRA) several times since it was announced by the BC government in February, 2016.

Posted on May 28, 2014

Book: The New B.C. Roadside Naturalist - A Guide to Nature alond B.C. Highways. Written by Richard and Sydney CanningsCuriosity. It’s what makes cats more fun and interesting. That’s what this guidebook does for curious people – makes travelling around BC and the Yukon a lot more fun and interesting.

Posted on March 04, 2014

Two people were taken into custody this morning on a Slocan Valley logging road, less than a day after a judge extended an injunction against the Sinixt First Nation and their supporters.

Posted on February 20, 2014

Forestwatch is a listserve with over 100 members that has been active in one form or another since the late 1990s. Typical postings include news items about BC forest issues, press releases and occasional local observations or viewpoints.

Posted on November 19, 2013

 by Jim Cooperman, Web Exclusive, November 2013

There was little time to revel in the sudden appearance of sunshine in October after over a week of low dense fog, because our skies quickly filled with smoke from countless logging slash piles.  While forest practices have improved since the bad old

Posted on September 30, 2013

by Van Andruss, Web Exclusive

"We do good economics because in those situations jobs are the profits, not dollars. The people you employ to care for the land make up the profits, and if at the end of the day you have an even balanced sheet, that’s what economics are all about."

Posted on September 28, 2013

by Anne Cameron, Tahsis, B.C.

Web exclusive

Tahsis is a small village of less than three hundred year-round residents situated at the end of an unpaved road.  We're an hour and a half from Gold River, we have a health clinic which sees a doctor every Tuesday and Thursday, but we have no bank, no vet, no dentist, no cell phone service and not much of anything, really. 

Posted on September 04, 2013

Rainforest Miracle - Wade Davisby Wade Davis
Photo by Markus Mauthe, Greenpeace

In the shadow of red cedar, along a stream colored by salmon, in a place where plants draw food from the air and small creatures living on dew never touch the forest floor, it is difficult to imagine a time when the coastal temperate rain forests of North America did not exist. These immense and mysterious forests extend in a vast arc from northern California 2,000 miles north and west to the Copper River and the Gulf of Alaska. A constellation of life unique on Earth spreads between sea and mountain peak, reaching across and defying national boundaries as myriad species envelop all

Posted on September 04, 2013

The protest movement to save the Clayoquot Sound wilderness forest had been building since the 1980s when the clash climaxed with blockades in 1993, twenty years ago this summer. Nuu-chah-nulth indigenous leaders and ecology activists made a historic stand that changed forestry practices in British Columbia. Over nine hundred activists were arrested and most convicted of crimes, before the surviving sections of the Clayoquot wilderness were preserved.
by Charles Lillard

Some years ago a friend and I were up behind Bamfield

Posted on October 17, 2012

There's a lot going on in Nuu-chah-nulth territory.

by Maggie Paquet

The Nuu-chah- nulth have occupied the west coast of Vancouver Island for many thousands of years, where they have lived self-sufficiently according to the principle of Hishukistsawalk: everything is one.

Posted on October 15, 2012

Critics of the government's closed-door deal say MacBlo
should have been compensated in cash, not land.

The BC government has agreed to hand over thousands of hectares of Crown land to forest giant MacMillan Bloedel, in a precedent-setting deal that will exempt the land from environmental protection.

Posted on October 15, 2012

Cortes Island seeks a brighter future for its forests.

by Liza Morris

Cortes Island stands on the brink of a revolution--or a higher stage of evolution--in its local forest practices.

Posted on October 14, 2012

Remember CORE? It was supposed to manage Vancouver Island forests for all values. Well, now you can forget about it. It's toast.

by Paul Senez (with files from Sierra Club of BC)

In the last decade, Vancouver Island has been subjected to an alphabet soup of land use planning exercises.

Posted on October 09, 2012

Mountain Pine beetles are killing millions of trees in BC's interior forests, but a forester recounts the forests' history and argues against "salvage" logging.

by Edo Nyland

The Prospectors Are Coming

When in 1840 the strike-anywhere match came onto the market, the new invention soon became standard equipment for the wave of prospectors that fanned out over BC and the Yukon, looking for mineral riches.

Posted on October 09, 2012

Amid howls of anguish and surprise, accusations of treachery and market fixing, as the US imposes a punishing tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imports, a few brave voices continue to insist the Timber Beast has no clothes.

by Will Horter, Forest Futures

On July 17th, the newly formed BC Coalition for Sustainable Forest Solutions released a report which documented $3 to $5 billion annually in subsidies to the BC logging industry. Cutting Subsidies or Subsidized Cutting, co-authored by economists Tom Green and Lisa Matthaus, focuses on five main types of subsidies: tenure, stumpage, bail outs, environmental waiver, and infringement of aboriginal title.

Posted on October 08, 2012

Stumpage, the "rent" for public forests, will fund BC's enhanced silviculture sham.

by Jim Cooperman

Forest Renewal BC (FRBC) evolved out of the last softwood lumber battle and now it has been scrapped in the midst of the current softwood dispute. To end the cycle of tariffs, the NDP government had raised stumpage significantly, thus adding a billion dollars or more each year to the provincial coffers. FRBC was hatched to "invest" these funds into "renewing the forests," thus making the additional costs more palatable to industry and unions.

Posted on October 08, 2012

The NDP government brought in Innovative Forest Practices Agreements (IFPA) in 1997, to grant forest licence holders the ability to earn allowable cut increases by work to improve forest productivity through what the Ministry of Forests calls "specialized silviculture, inventory reviews, and growth and yield activities."

Posted on October 08, 2012

by Taylor Bachrach

Up until November, the road into the upper Goat River watershed crossed a bridge over the Milk River and ended abruptly in a pile of dirt pushed up against the edge of the forest. Beyond the pile lay 35,000 hectares of untouched wilderness -- one of the largest uncut, unprotected watersheds in the Fraser Headwaters region of northeastern British Columbia.

Posted on September 26, 2012

The mighty Fraser River nourishes an ancient rainforest matched nowhere else on earth, and what scientists call the world's most extensive example of an Ancient Inland Rainforest in the northern hemisphere.

by Julie and Rick Zammuto

Sometimes, people are too busy or preoccupied with their daily lives to notice when something very precious is disappearing. Then, one day, they notice it is gone. That "one day" is rapidly approaching for the Ancient Inland Rainforest of Robson Valley.

Posted on September 15, 2012

Findings from Clearcutting Canada's Rainforests

  • In the vast majority of logging sites over 80 per cent of the trees were removed;
  • Only four per cent of fish-bearing streams in logging sites had protective stream-side buffers;
  • In the majority of sites not enough trees were left behind to sustain species or habitat that depend on old-growth forests.
Posted on September 15, 2012

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s proclaimed in January that environmental and other “radical groups” are trying to block trade and undermine Canada’s economy, so on Vancouver Island citizen activists are upholding their reputation as outspoken defenders of the wild.

by Joe Foy

“Wanna buy a t-shirt?” I turned to look across the

Posted on September 15, 2012

by Julia Prinselaar

Nearly two decades after the last of 10,000 protesters packed their bags and left Clayoquot Sound in the final days of a summer-long logging blockade in 1993, the fight to protect the region’s ancient temperate rainforest continues. 

In some ways the demonstrations were a success.

When the province announced a Land Use Decision

Posted on September 14, 2012

by Lee-Ann Unger

Ten years ago this summer, Clayoquot Sound was the site of the largest peaceful blockade in Canadian history. Twelve thousand people joined the protest to stop industrial logging of Clayoquot Sound’s ancient rainforests. By the end of the summer 856 people had been arrested and charged for standing on a logging road trying to prevent the further destruction to one of the world’s most biologically rich ecosystems. 1993 was a pivotal year for Clayoquot Sound and the environmental movement.

Posted on September 12, 2012

Over the past several years, coastal logging companies in BC have been really nailing red cedar hard, even using helicopters to hunt down the last old groves on the steep mountainsides.

by Joe Foy

Back in ’62 my parents decided to move on to a

Posted on September 12, 2012

Wilderness Committee collaborates with the St at imc and other First Nations in the successful environmental movement to gain protection for forests, resulting in a doubling of BC’s protected areas system.

by Joe Foy

We’d been hiking all day to reach the crest of the ridge, and now that we were on top it didn’t seem real.

Posted on September 06, 2012

Reports of logging road construction threaten to breach a pristine old growth valley known as Hesquiat Point Creek, located at the remote north-western edge of Clayoquot Sound.

by Joe Foy

The black bear was busy with something on the beach,

Posted on September 01, 2012

Old growth Douglas Fir tree on Sumas Mountain in the Fraser Valley, slated to be logged. Local folks are working to preserve the grove.

by Joe Foy

It’s happened again. I guess I was so busy living in the moment, I didn’t even notice a new decade sneaking up on us.

Posted on August 31, 2012

The time has surely come to pass a law protecting all of BC’s remaining old growth forests – every precious stick that remains.

by Joe Foy

I’ve spent many a day (and some nights, too) bushwhacking through BC’s old growth forests. Every time I have entered one of these amazing places, I have never failed to be awed, delighted – and

Posted on August 30, 2012

The most endangered ecosystem in Canada – the Coastal Douglas Fir Ecosystem – has less than 2% remaining in a wild condition. But despite a constant stream of people coming to see the rare plants and animals found there, Premier Clark’s government still OK’d the logging destruction.

by Joe Foy

Everybody loves a cute baby. As our bus wound up the steep mountain road I found myself eye to eye with a beautiful little girl who was looking intently at me from the safety of her mother’s arms. Something was bugging her and she would alternate between smiles and spates of crying as we bumped and swerved ever higher into the mountains.  

We were headed for the town of Dalat, which is in the central highlands of Vietnam.

Posted on August 28, 2012

by Art Joyce

In the wake of the worst forest fire season in more than 50 years, BC families are under­standably preoccupied with more immediate concerns than government policy. Yet massive changes by the BC Liberals to forest legislation could devastate BC’s forests far worse than any wildfires.

In the fall sitting of the BC Leg­islature, the Liberal government plans to fast-track the ‘Working Forest’ legislation. All 45 million hectares of public lands and forests outside provincial parks will be legally desig­nated the ‘Working Forest land base,’ with resource extraction the man­dated priority.

Posted on August 24, 2012

Last fall, forest activist Ingmar Lee (right) toured Europe talking about British Columbia forest problems. Here is a report from Germany of his tour, called WaldAktion British Columbia, or Forest Action British Columbia.

by Karen Wonders 

It was gratifying to discover that in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, where Ingmar lectured, there

Posted on August 23, 2012

by Jim Cooperman

It has been slightly more than a year since my last Watershed Sentinel update on BC’s forestry issues. Not much has changed, other than the Gordon Campbell Liberal government has now enshrined in law forestry policies that virtually hand over the

Posted on August 22, 2012

by Mary Desmond

There is a certain path not far from where I live in Shawnigan Lake. It curves up the mountainside where the ferns spill over a small stream shadowed by stately cedar and fir. But as the trail ascends, an ominous brightening warns of an impending change. At the final bend, the sylvan reverie is ruptured abruptly as the light exposes a scene of sombre desolation. The little creek, now shorn of its protective foliage, trickles forlornly through the thorny wreckage of a clearcut.

Despite the presence of a nearby sign admonishing, “Caution: Water Intake Downstream,” no one would ever guess that nestled in the valley

Posted on August 22, 2012

Beetles are killing BC forests. It’s an environmental and industrial disaster. Ministry of Forests’ solution? Inject thousands of unmarked trees with arsenic. Then, ignore the consequences as loggers fall the trees and beehive burners spread the arsenic sky-high.

by Delores Broten

Appeals to common sense, the precautionary principle, the Environmental Appeal Board, public agitation and internal ministry reviews all failed Josette Wier. The Smithers resident, from her home in northern BC, has struggled since 2000 against the Ministry of Forest’s (MoF) desperate attempt to use arsenic against the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation of BC forests. 

Posted on August 21, 2012

by Jim Cooperman

In its February budget, the BC government announced that it is increasing its $275 million handout to the forestry sector by another $266 million.

Even though there has been out­rage over the brutal reductions in pub­lic services, no one seems concerned about this give-away of tax dollars to a booming forest industry. Perhaps it is because the public has been hood­winked to believe in the myth of a BC forestry sector struggling to survive the softwood lumber war? The reality was best stated by forestry consultant Peter Woodbridge in the latest issue of Truck Loggers Magazine, “Improved business levels are generating the profits needed to justify recent high rates of corporate consolidation and funding for mill and

Posted on August 17, 2012

Recent BC Supreme court rulings express the concern some judges have for the misuse of our Common Law to arrest citizens who are concerned about our natural environment and ecosystems without the right to a trial by their peers.

by Tom Prior

Southeast of Revelstoke BC, the northeast reach of Arrow Lake reservoir (Beaton) receives the glacial waters of the Incomappleaux River from the ice in Glacier National Park. In Nakusp and Kaslo, locals call this hidden valley the “Fish River.”  

Flowing south off the steep Selkirk Mountain peaks, the early liquids of this river gorge down rock

Posted on August 16, 2012

Canada subsidizes logging. The sooner we acknowledge this and force our politicians to change the stumpage system and other forest policies, the sooner we can solve the softwood dispute and remove incentives that promote unsustainable logging throughout the country.

by Will Horter, Dogwood Initiative 

As the federal election heats up, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper and Jack Layton have all been talking tough about softwood lumber. 

Posted on August 16, 2012

by Jim Cooperman

The beetle epidemic, fuelled by climate change, is resulting in huge increases in the province’s Allowable Annual Cut (AAC). Recently, chief forester Jim Snetsinger announced the latest increases: 745,000 cubic metres/year (m3) in the Okanagan Timber Supply Area and 200,000 cubic metres for Tree Farm License 49. All told, the provincial increase so far

Posted on August 15, 2012

by Delores Broten 

In February, conservationists uniformly rejoiced as the BC government announced the results of land use planning after a decade-long campaign to protect the Great Bear Rainforest on BC’s north and central coast. The BC provincial government, after consultation with 25 First Nations, announced that almost a third of the

Posted on August 15, 2012

Kevin Falcon, BC’s Minister of Transportation has a plan to blast Eagleridge Bluffs in Horseshoe Bay to make way for a new section of road to Whistler in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

by Joe Foy

On Earth Day my family and I went for a delightful hike in the woods near Horseshoe Bay at a little place you may have heard of called Eagleridge Bluffs. It was just

Posted on August 11, 2012

by Jim Cooperman 

A Ministry of Forests and Range compliance and enforcement technician confided to me the other day about the sad state of current forest management. “They have legislated us out of the bush,” he complained. “Companies are controlling prices and are bullies in the forests.” He had heard that his union was going to do a survey to determine

Posted on August 11, 2012

East Creek is one of only six watersheds that still remain pristine out of an original 91 on Vancouver Island; the other 85 have been clearcut logged.

by Richard Boyce

I have just returned from a week-long trip into the wilderness on the north-west corner of Vancouver

Posted on August 10, 2012

Over the past four decades, three-quarters of the Incomappleux River valley in the southeastern interior of BC has been logged. The valley’s last 1000 hectares of commercially loggable intact old-growth forest is all that remains.

by Art Joyce 

Posted on July 20, 2012

BC the Wilderness Committee calls for the banning of old growth logging on Vancouver Island by 2015, with lumber and value-added wood products made from second growth forests only.

by Joe Foy

It’s a funny thing about rivers in old growth rainforests. When I’m sitting down next to one of them they remind me of home, no matter where in the province or world that I am. 

I guess the happy sound of water on the move, the

Posted on July 16, 2012

BC’s existing forests, grasslands and wetlands are the largest and best defence against global warming in Canada.

The amount of carbon stored by BC’s forests is enormous – 88 times the total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all of Canada. A new report from the Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia (LTABC), Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change through the Conservation of Nature, has calculated the impact of saving forests and other undisturbed greenspace. In terms of climate change, the carbon stored in BC’s forests is almost a thousand times the province’s annual GHG emissions. 

Around the world, forests contain more than half of all terrestrial carbon. They account for about 80 percent of the carbon which is exchanged between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. 

British Columbia’s forests have some of the highest carbon stores in Canada, averaging 311 tonnes per hectare with some coastal forests holding 600 to 1,300 tonnes per hectare. If carbon had a price,

Posted on July 16, 2012

by Delores Broten 

The frustration with unchecked sprawl, First Nations disempowerment, and luxury accommodation built on habitat destruction came home to roost at Langford’s Bear Mountain development adjoining Goldstream Provincial Park on Vancouver Island in

Posted on July 15, 2012

Photos and text by Jim Cooperman 

Rampant and often massive development projects around BC have become the new battleground for environmental activism over the last few years. Citizen groups which once worked tirelessly to prevent the logging of old growth forests are now

Posted on July 10, 2012

Vancouver Island alone has lost more than one million hectares of productive old growth rainforest.

by Delores Broten

Cortes Island old growth appears to be the next in a series of controver­sial logging disputes to plague the BC coast in 2011. The unrest is forecast to continue in

Posted on July 07, 2012

Text and photos ©Colin Payne

Another chapter in the epic battle over logging on Perry Ridge in the Slocan Valley has unfolded with recent protests, blockades, and litigation over plans to build a road and further log the much-contested Kootenay land. 

Posted on July 06, 2012

A personal account of the celebration that marks the success of Haida elders 25 years ago, when they gathered at Athlii Gwaii to put a stop to the logging of their land.

by Eduardo Sousa

In November 2010, I had the good fortune and privi­lege to be on Haida Gwaii to celebrate with the Haida and non-Haida alike a seminal moment in the history of

Posted on June 30, 2012

Shuswap flooding and impacts of development & clearcut logging.

by Jim Cooperman


Federal and provincial government staff operate under a gag order that restricts the flow of information to the public. Communication staff manufacture the only information allowed to be disseminated. Consequently, it is difficult for the

Posted on June 25, 2012

By Valerie Langer

Introduction by Delores Broten

It was in March 2000 that the first progress was announced on the Great Bear Rainforest, when eco-groups abandoned blockade lines and market campaigns for collaborative talks. The Watershed Sentinel report read: “Sierra Club of BC, the Coastal Rainforest Coalition, and Greenpeace confirmed that they were near agreement with six logging companies hav­ing timber rights on the central coast for an 18-month moratorium on logging the ‘largest remaining tracts of temperate rainforest left in the world.’

Posted on June 25, 2012

BC Forestsby Delores Broten

The forests of British Colum­bia have long been a source of great wealth and deep passion. First Nations derived shelter, clothing, food, and transportation from the old-growth ecosystems of the Coast and the Inte­rior. Their wealth was the wealth of the Earth, providing enough.

The passions of the first part of the 20th century were infused with exploitation and greed. Our public lands were carved up and handed out to corporations as long-term tenures over 50 years ago. A Forests minister was sent to jail for accepting bribes. Vast swaths of forests were converted into stacks of money for a relatively few corporate shareholders and wages

Posted on June 23, 2012

by Jim Cooperman

As the Olympic spotlight begins to shine on British Columbia, citizens need to learn more about the exponen­tial increase of habitat destruction caused by off-road vehicle ‘wreck­reation.’

Not only is the backcountry environ­ment getting trashed, but non-motorized trails are being over-run by irresponsible ATV and motor bike riders, in some cases making these trails unus­able for cycling and hiking. While the problems are occurring throughout the province, particularly in alpine areas and wetlands, it is in the drier Thompson, Okanagan and Kootenay grasslands where off-road wreakreation is most problematic because these machines can go anywhere.  

Once areas have been damaged, the impacts can last for decades. The escalating problems from off road vehicles is compounded by the lack of regulations, as BC is the only jurisdiction in North America that does not require licenses or training to operate these vehicles. The Coalition for Licensing and Registration of Off-Road Vehicles, which includes the ATV Association,

Posted on June 23, 2012

Galiano Island has seen more than its share of clearcut logging over the decades, but now the Galiano Conservancy is leading the way on restoration of one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada – Coastal Douglas Fir.

Over the past two decades the Galiano Conservancy As­sociation has focused on addressing issues of biodiversity loss and environmental sustainability on Galiano Island, the second largest of BC’s Southern Gulf Islands. These efforts include a unique restoration project with a goal of helping to transform one of the

Posted on March 14, 2012

bc loggingby Jim Cooperman

In 1985, the rapidly growing amount of not-satisfactorily-restocked (NSR) land in BC forests became a crisis. This resulted in a joint provincial and federal $300-million funding plan, the Forest Resource Development Agreement (FRDA) that restocked many thousands of hectares.

A similar crisis is again occurring in BC's forests, but this time the cause is not logging by irresponsible forest companies. Instead, the massive amount of NSR land is a result of climate-change fuelled fires, diseases and beetle kill.

Posted on January 11, 2012

cortes island by Joyce Nelson

Most of BC's public land forests, and all of BC's private land forests, are owned by two huge companies, known as TAM and BAM [see diagram]. TAM is Third Avenue Management of New York, and BAM is Brookfield Asset Management, based in Toronto.

As Briony Penn wrote for Focus Magazine (Feb. 2011), "Look out your window anywhere from Crofton to Sooke and you'll be gazing at a piece of real estate owned in some fashion by BAM or TAM ... [which] form a many-headed hydra that has been devouring most of the private forest lands on southeast Vancouver Island." 

Posted on November 15, 2011

Biofuelby Rob Wiltzen

A combination of federal government subsidies, changes in the pulp and paper market and questionable energy policies threaten British Columbia forests as they come to be viewed as bioenergy.

Tough times for the pulp and paper industry have called for change, and the industry appears to have diversified to energy production. Pulp mills already have the facilities for energy production, they have been given $1 billion in federal funding for the capital upgrades required, and they have a willing partner with BC Hydro offering lucrative power purchasing agreements. [See "BC's Bio Boondoogle," Watershed Sentinel.] Further, there's a profitable future in saleable carbon credits.

The entire scenario is founded on the use of ‘biomass' as renewable energy and it's become a bit of a gold rush.

Posted on November 08, 2011

bc biomassby Arthur Caldicott

Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals' energy legacy is a boondoggle of policies, subsidies, and fantastical claims. The 2010 Clean Energy Act brought together a decade of energy initiatives in a single legislative dog's breakfast - delivering blows to the environment, the economy, and the credibility of government.

Posted on September 29, 2011

by Delores Broten

It's been a long haul, but after almost twenty-five years of angst, anguish, and mind-numbing, soul-crushing, hard work, the entire Crown land forests of Cortes Island are finally in the process of coming under community control.

Posted on February 28, 2009

by Briony Penn

This summer a long, detailed and beautifully illustrated report came out called Taking Nature’s Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity in British Columbia, (See On the front cover is a Taylor checkerspot butterfly, a coho salmon, a bumblebee, a spirit bear and an ensatina salamander. The report is a labour of love and science put out by Biodiversity BC, a coalition of fifty scientists from both environmental organizations and the provincial government.

What struck me most is that I haven’t seen a document like this for nearly 15 years. Not since BC took a huge leadership role by being the first to sign the UN Convention of Biodiversity at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 has there been such a concerted effort to bring together all the people observing the natural

Posted on February 01, 2009

by Andrew MacLeod

Beating drums and wearing traditional black and red blankets, a large group of Kwakiutl protesters gathered one day in mid-February outside the British Columbia legislature in Victoria. They'd made the 500-kilometre trip from northern Vancouver Island, where their ancestors have lived for thousands of years, to show their outrage.

Two weeks earlier, the BC government had announced that Western Forest Products would be allowed to remove 28,283 hectares of private land from its Tree Farm Licenses (TFL) on Vancouver Island, a large part of which lies in traditional Kwakiutl territory.

Posted on January 20, 2009

by Delores Broten

The BC Tap Water Alliance (BCTWA) has released three more reports in its long-standing campaign to raise the alarm about incursions into community drinking watersheds, and the removal of those watersheds from protected status. Through archival research, the BCTWA has uncovered maps and documents that reveal decades of bureaucratic sleight-of-hand, ignoring the legal protection of watersheds as provincial Land Act Watershed Reserves to the benefit