Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Clayoquot Inventories Creating False Sense of Scientific Security

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Clayoquot Inventories Creating False Sense of Scientific Security

Article excerpt

MacMillan Bloedel's temporary suspension of logging in the Clayoquot Sound area has not ended concerns about the future of the rainforest watersheds.

International Forest Products is continuing to log in disturbed watersheds, (valleys where more than two percent has already been cut), and MacMillan Bloedel is expected to return in a year or two after they have restructured their operations.

Just what cutting will be allowed in the pristine Clayoquot watersheds is to be guided by the results of controversial ecological inventories being conducted under the supervision of the provincial forest and environment ministries.

The inventory work is intended to provide knowledge of "how ecosystems maintain and renew themselves" in Clayoquot Sound's old growth rainforests. But some biologists say the inventories are too limited and brief to supply this knowledge. And environmentalists fear inadequate studies will be used as a political tool to diffuse public outcry over logging in Clayoquot's pristine valleys.

The inventories were initiated in response to recommendations by the Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices in Clayoquot Sound, mandated by then BC premier Mike Harcourt in 1993 to "make forest practices in Clayoquot the best in the world."

Biologists argue that "inventories" are insufficient to inform the "ecosystem-based approach to forest planning" advocated by the scientific panel. Says bird biologist Rick Souchie, "we're supposed to find out what's using what and how," but all these inventories show is "what's there. …

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