Noah Grant, YES! Magazine, Summer 2008

Has the promise of the stories we’ve published turned into reality? Where is logging in the Clayoquot Sound rainforest at today?

11 years ago in YES! …

we reported on the shutdown of logging in British Columbia's Clayoquot Sound. Timber giant MacMillan Bloedel caved under the pressure of an international campaign to protect the forest. Elsewhere in B.C., an enormous expanse of land was attracting attention as the next battleground for conservation.

Today …

MacMillan Bloedel's logging rights in Clayoquot were subsequently sold to a First Nations-controlled company, Iisaak. Nu-chah-nulth First Nations and the B.C. government negotiated “ecosystem-based management” agreements aimed at balancing conservation with the need for jobs. Tree cutting resumed, but at a much reduced rate.

Recently, Iisaak and Ma-Mook Coulson, the other native-controlled logging company in Clayoquot, have increased their logging to reach the “annual allowable cut” level. An environmental coalition is in negotiations with the First Nations to arrive at a new conservation agreement and avoid renewed conflict over cutting. Environmental groups also hope to work with the B.C. government to create a large-scale conservation plan that includes funding for developing green job opportunities that reduce the need for logging, especially in intact old-growth valleys.

Another area we mentioned in our 1997 article was the Great Bear Rainforest. Following the lead of the Clayoquot ecosystem management plan, First Nations, environmental groups, logging companies and the B.C. government negotiated a landmark deal in 2006. The deal increases protected areas, makes logging practices more sustainable, and promotes diversification of local economic opportunities. The changes are to be implemented by 2009.

Events in Clayoquot Sound and the Great Bear Rainforest highlight a positive trend in forest conservation efforts in British Columbia. First Nations are gaining more control over their traditional lands while considerations of sustainability are becoming central to forestry planning.