Thursday, May 27, 2010

Boreal forest agreement - It's even worse than it looked

What were you thinking, dude?
The David Suzuki Foundation is a signatory to the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

A few days ago, I reported here on the questionable agreement signed by environmental NGOs and logging companies over the "joint management" of the Canadian boreal forest.

As it turns out, this agreement is considerably worse than I had initially realized.

One aspect of the agreement which has received particular media attention in recent days is the claim that 29 million hectares of caribou habitat will be preserved from logging for the next three years until a management plan is finalized. "An area the size of New Zealand!" ForestEthics, an NGO which is signatory to the agreement, emphatically proclaimed on its website.

But the Wilderness Committee has investigated that claim and the results are bleak. A close examination of the agreement reveals that this 29 million hectare figure is bogus. Indeed, only 2.5% of that total area (or about 760,000 hectares) had actually been slated for logging prior to the agreement.

Furthermore, the Wilderness Committee reveals that only a tiny fraction of those 760,000 hectares are to be preserved under the agreement, i.e. 72,000 hectares. The other 685,000 hectares - 9 times the amount of the land being allegedly "protected" - will be logged effective immediately.

In addition, the "protection" is really only a 2-year moratorium, meaning that the preserved 72,000 hectares can be logged out of existence as early as April 2012 if a joint management plan is not agreed upon. But as I made clear in my previous post, the agreement is structured in such a way as to give logging companies a virtual monopoly of bargaining power in the upcoming negotiations. The management plan, if it even materializes, will be a mere emanation of corporate will. If those 72,000 hectares are still in the deal two years from now, the free lunch is on me.

But there's more. The Wilderness Committee also found that, of those 72,000 hectares, 40,000 are coming out of the tenure of a logging corporation named Tolko which had already agreed not to log that tenure several years ago, pursuant to a separate agreement with the province of Manitoba.

Once the Wilderness Committee had finished crunching the numbers, 32,000 hectares - not 29 million! - emerged as the actual area of forest that this agreement will "save" from logging companies for the next 2 years.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do it. Whenever you need to clearcut 700,000 hectares of pristine boreal forest, announce that you're going to save 30 million hectares of it (make it 29 so it looks more real), get some sold-out rotten NGOs on board, and then sit back and listen to the oohs and aahs and bravos emanating from the official corporate media outlets.

The Wilderness Committee has masterfully exposed this boreal forest agreement for what it is: a despicable phony greenwash masquerade which will considerably accelerate - not reduce - the destruction of caribou habitat over the next couple years. A farce of an agreement really, in which some of this country's most reputable environmental NGOs have cynically chosen to play a deceptive and destructive, as well as critically important role - all for a fistful of dollars.

Once again, I am posting FYI and for your action the list of environmental NGOs which have chosen to associate their names to this nauseating deal:

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
David Suzuki Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
Pew Environment Group International Boreal Conservation Campaign
Ivey Foundation
Canadian Boreal Initiative / Ducks Unlimited



  1. ivan
    this is more government
    and corporate hand holding
    while singing black is white and white is black
    it is only too familiar
    look at BP
    the gulf of mexico spill is the story of the century

  2. you forgot to list the Canadian Boreal Initiative-- themselves technically only a project of Ducks Unlimited and who receive all of their funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The CBI is also in direct partnership with Al-Pac, Tembec and Suncor.

  3. Ivan you have now brought recognition and understanding to some of us what this agreement is actually composed of. I think Greenpeace, ForestEthics, David Suzuki, etc. have rather made an inhouse agreement in general on a national level...they will discontinue any fuss about logging out what is left of old growth in all of Canada as they have in BC in return for money and the appearance of having won a stunning victory. They need money. They act like any big business; their bottom lines must be met. They are selling a product now, themselves. But I believe the next wave of energy (all of these enviro groups started out sincere and energetic) will come from people in neighbourhoods who object to the destruction of their own immediate neighbourhoods and familiar habitats we all know like our forest streams and salmon migrations (viz Alexandria Morton) and the rising people fury over the governments Run of River programs. Als a lot of energy is coming now from First Nations. Ivan, can you write what you have written about this agreement and send it to newspapers, radio stations, etc. and ask for interviews? People must be convinced that they can no longer depend on cozy corporate friendly environmental groups in need of cash to protect what belongs to us all...clean air, water, forests, topsoil,wild animals and in the end, democracy.

  4. heard about this in the docu End:Civ which was just released. thought provoking to say the least.