Greenpeace blocks office of Quebec’s forest ministry

Last update: July 27th - Major protest against the destruction of Quebec’s intact boreal forest

Feature story - July 26, 2009
Greenpeace activists are blocking access to the Ministry of Natural Resources to disrupt its regular business activities in protest against the destruction of Quebec’s last intact forests.

Boreal Forest, block the entrance of Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources which oversees forestry.


About a dozen Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the building doors early this morning, after depositing a large amount of lumber at the ministry’s office. The wood is from AbitibiBowater, the biggest and most destructive logging company in Quebec. The activists also hung a banner reading: “Boreal Forest: The Destruction Starts Here”.

Check out the live feed of updates from the continuing action

"The ministry's regular business has been to approve forest destruction for decades. Today we are here to disrupt that business."

"It is time for the ministry to drastically change direction towards sustainable forestry and protection of our natural heritage."

Nicolas Mainville, Greenpeace forest campaigner

A successful "return to sender" operation

Greenpeace's peaceful "return to sender" operation began early this morning when activists collected AbitibiBowater wood in the Quebec City area and then "returned it" to the ministry office building because it is responsible for forest management. They are protesting against the Quebec government's inaction on protecting intact forests.

A law of destruction

It is the Ministry of Natural Resources that oversees the exploitation of Quebec's forests. In the fall, this ministry is planning to approve a new forest law (Bill 57) that would allow intensive forestry in an area 150 times larger than the island of Montreal and would further support the degradation of the province's last remaining intact forest areas and habitat of threatened woodland caribou.

Less than five per cent of the allocated forest in Quebec is actually protected from development while only 10 per cent remains intact. These intact areas store the highest levels of carbon and provide the best habitat for woodland caribou. The forest bill currently sitting on the minister's desk would further degrade these areas.

AbitibiBowater's wood is a product of destruction

During the action, AbitibiBowater's wood was stamped with the message PRODUCT OF DESTRUCTION. Even though Canada's Boreal Forest is the largest terrestrial reserve of carbon on the planet, the Quebec government has licensed over 84 per cent of Quebec's productive forests to logging companies. AbitibiBowater is allowed to exploit up to 6.4 million cubic metres of wood from Quebec forests every year. They refused to protect intact areas and caribou habitat. 

Key facts:

• On November 15th 2008, Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced a promise to protect 50 per cent of the territory included in its Northern Plan (areas north of the 49th parallel).

• The new forest law - Bill 57 - would be an environmental failure because it puts in place new obstacles for conservation, furthers the destruction of Quebec's last intact forests, eliminates the implementation of real ecosystem-based management and proposes the creation of immense monocultures and large-scale plantations.

• Around 90 per cent of the forest allocated by the Quebec forest ministry has been logged

• 90 per cent of the logging in Quebec is clearcut logging.

• Of all forest globally, the Canadian Boreal Forest is the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on earth storing 186 billion tonnes of carbon or more than 27 years of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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