Clearcut greets delegates at UN-sponsored forestry congress

Feature story - 22 September, 2003
The UN-sponsored World Forestry Congress is underway in Quebec City, Quebec, and today arriving delegates were greeted with a "clear cut" of tree stumps, as part of Greenpeace's work at the conference to highlight how Canadian forests are being mismanaged by the federal and provincial governments.

150 tree stumps in the entranceway of the Quebec City Convention Centre where the UN-sponsored World Forestry Congress is underway.

"Canada claims to be a world leader in protecting our forests, but the reality is that over one third of Canada's Boreal forests have already been allocated to logging companies and in less than 30 years the amount of land clearcut in this country has increased by 40 percent," said Richard Brooks, our Canada forests campaigner. "Canada has an amazing opportunity to protect the most endangered areas of its Boreal forest, but time is running out."

Over 4,000 delegates from over 140 countries are attending the UN-sponsored World Forestry Congress, including representatives from Greenpeace.

Five facts about Canada's Boreal forest:

  • The Boreal forest in Canada is 529 million hectares or about the size of 21 United Kingdoms.
  • Nearly half of the Boreal forest cut each year is turned into disposables products like toilet and facial tissue.
  • Over 90 percent of the logging that takes place in the Boreal forest is clearcutting. In a clearcutting operation, most if not all the trees are cut, delimbed, and trucked to mills.
  • The Boreal forests of Canada and Russia hold approximately 40 percent of the planet's terrestrial carbon and so are essential in the fight against climate change.
  • In the past 50 years, while the rate of cutting has increased by 50 percent, the number of people employed in the forest industry has decreased.

*May 2010 saw the launch of a historic accord, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, which brings together 9 environmental groups, including Greenpeace and 21 of the largest logging companies in Canada.  The agreement is the first step towards conservation planning for 70 million hectares of Boreal wilderness. It marks the suspension of boycott campaigns directed at AbitibiBowater, Kruger and other members of the Forest Products Association of Canada.