In late 1993, the BC government tried to off-load the Clayoquot logging controversy onto scientists. It appointed a "Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices in Clayoquot Sound" and told it to answer the question "how to log Clayoquot Sound" -- instead of "whether to log", which is the real question.
Therein lies the fundamental flaw of the Scientific Panel: it was not allowed to scientifically analyze the conservation needs of Vancouver Island. Principles of conservation biology indicate that all of Clayoquot's intact forest should be protected -- Clayoquot Sound contains the largest area of intact ancient forest left on Vancouver Island, an island that has lost three-quarters of its productive ancient forest to clearcut logging.
In 1995, the Panel came up with 125 recommendations, which the government accepted.
Summary of Main Recommendations of Clayoquot Scientific Panel:
The main positive effect of applying the Panel's guidelines has been to decrease the rate of logging in Clayoquot Sound, from 400,000 cubic metres in 1994 (pre-Panel) to the current 150,000 per year (2007). Logging practices have also improved. For example, clearcuts are smaller and buffers (areas where logging is not permitted) around streams are wider.
But the Panel allows logging of old-growth forest, including logging of intact valleys. It allows "clearcuts with reserves" which have been re-named "variable retention". Wildlife habitat, including that of endangered species, is still being destroyed and fragmented.
The Panel admitted that its guidelines are experimental and that monitoring is needed to evaluate whether the new logging does in fact maintain ecosystem health. However, no such region-wide monitoring exists.
The Scientific Panel's guidelines and the no-logging reserves established are not legislated and therefore vulnerable to being dropped.
For a report on how the Panel's recommendations were being implemented from 1995-1998 (criticisms still valid today) Click here
PO Box 489, 331 Neill St., Tofino BC V0R 2Z0
Report: Overview of Logging in Clayoquot Sound 2000-2009 (download page)
Photo by Adrian Dorst
The health of the global environment depends on intact ecosystems. It is our responsibility to act as peaceful and courageous advocates for marine and terrestrial life in Clayoquot Sound. Please join us!