On the west coast of Canada, nestled between high alpine reaches and the Pacific Ocean,lies a band of temperate rainforest. This ancient forest is home to thousands of species of plants, birds, animals, 1,000-year-old cedar trees and 90 meter tall Sitka spruce. Rich salmon streams weave through valley bottoms providing food for magnificent creatures such as orcas, black bears, grizzlies and eagles.
More than half of the world's temperate rainforests have already been destroyed. More than a quarter of what remains is found on the west coast of British Columbia.
The Great Bear Rainforest gets its name from the Grizzly, Black and rare white Ker-mode, or "Spirit" bears which thrive in the temperate rainforest. Neither Canada nor the Province of British Columbia has an Endangered Species Act to protect the Grizzly bear or the more than 700 other species listed as threatened in British Columbia. One of the leading threats to these species is the rampant clearcutting of B.C.'s ancient rainforests a process driven mainly by the United States' demand for B.C.'s old-growth wood products.
CLEARCUTTING THE TEMPERATE RAINFOREST
Clearcutting is an industrial logging practice in which every tree is cut down in a large area sometimes as large as more than one hundred football fields. Clearcutting is particularly devastating in the fragile temperate rainforest. Yet recent investigation shows that 97% of all the logging in the temperate rainforest is done by clearcutting. (British Co-lumbia's Clear Cut Code, Sierra Legal Defense Fund, Nov., 1996)
Clearcutting continues on aboriginal lands often without the consent of B.C.'s Native Americans, known in Canada as First Nations, who have resided in these forests for millennia and who have never ceded title to their traditional territories. Few First Nations communities receive direct economic benefit from logging.
JOBS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
"We don't have to choose between jobs and trees. If our forest industry was managed properly, we would have plenty of both." Pulp and Paper Woodworkers of Canada, 1993
Highly-mechanized industrial clear-cutting and the export of minimally-processed wood products is a far greater threat to jobs in British Columbia than environmental protection, which helps the fishing and tourism industries as well. Additionally, the import of cheap Canadian lumber, subsidized by weak environmental laws, threatens jobs in the U.S.
The largest logging companies - MacMillan Bloedel, International Forest Products (Interfor), and Western Forest Products (a Doman subsidiary) together log 50% of all the rainforests cut in B.C. every year. This forest is logged primarily for export to the United States, Europe and Japan. These companies are clearcutting the forests, and have converted 1,000-year-old trees into disposable paper products and lumber. Canada's ancient rainforest is being made into items such as toilet paper, magazines, newspapers and diapers.
JUST THE FACTS
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Demand that your local lumber retailer, large or small, stop carrying ancient rainforest products. Ask the same of your favorite magazines and local newspapers, that they find alternatives to clearcut old-growth pulp and paper.
Call or write your senators and representatives, and the U.S. Trade Representative, Charlene Bar-shefsky, 600 - 17th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508. Phone (202) 395-3230. Ask them to tighten current quotas on Canadian lumber imports and to impose quotas on Canadian pulp and paper as well. You can also send letters to the Minister of Environment, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia V8V 1X4. FAX (250) 387-1356.
Reduce your personal consumption of wood and paper products by 50 to 75%. Recycling is a good first step, but unfortunately the last few years of paper recycling has only kept pace with our Nation's increase in paper consumption. Build smaller, use less, waste less. The forests will thank you for it.
JOIN IN CALLING FOR
1. No logging or roadbuilding in the Great Bear Rainforest's pristine valleys.
2. An immediate end to clearcutting.
3. U.S. business to eliminate their use of clearcut ancient rainforest wood, paper and pulp products.
In the longer-term, a phaseout of industrial logging in old-growth forests, a shift towards ecological logging in second-growth forests and investment in ecologically sound non-wood alternatives is being sought.
Support First Nations' cultural use of the temperate rainforest and local community-controlled ecoforestry in second growth forests and areas where logging has already occurred. (Reprinted with permission from Greenpeace)
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Greenpeace U.S. Forest Campaign, 568 Howard St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105. Phone (415) 512-9025, FAX (415) 512-8699. Or check out the Greenpeace website: http://www.green-peace.org/~usa.
The Valhalla Wilderness Society, Box 329, New Denver, British Columbia V0G 1S0. Phone (250) 358-2333, FAX (250) 358-7950, e-mail: email@example.com. The work of this dedicated group is made possible through sales of memberships, posters and other nature-friendly items.
The Rainforest Action Network, (415) 398-4404, FAX (415) 398-2732, E mail or visit their Web site . Memberships, newsletters, posters, etc. are available.
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