Weyerhaeuser's Predatory Logging in Canadian Boreal, Inadequate Campaign Response
Below is disturbing information regarding illegal logging of the Canadian Boreal by Weyerhaeuser. There is a vibrant campaign that is showing signs of success in defending this massive and magnificent old-growth forest ecosystem. In the story below, the groups which include the Rainforest Action Network correctly highlight the predatory, law-breaking behavior of industrial loggers. Weyerhaeuser was found to have exceeded its logging and road building allowances to supply corporations including Xerox with paper. Shockingly, this corporate criminality was certified as being "sustainable" by a patsy industry certification organization.
However, where the campaign goes wrong is identifying achievement of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification as the desirable alternative. Canada's ancient boreal forests power planetary ecosystem functions ? these ancient behemoth trees should not be used to make paper or plywood. FSC certified industrial logging still involves bull-dozers rumbling through ancient forests, irreducibly diminishing an ecological treasure. No natural primary forest has ever been harvested more than a couple times under such standards. Yet implicitly FSC's green rhetoric, with which even WWF, RAN and Greenpeace have become enamored, suggests that their standards are environmentally benign. This is far from the truth. In reality, these areas will be further reduced with each harvest, eventually becoming virtually tree plantations.
The Earth has surpassed the amount of standing old-growth forests required for global ecological sustainability. The forest conservation movement would be well served by trying to end industrial logging of primary forests, rather than make it a bit less deadly. I understand the logic that certification as a strategy seems reasonable. But the ecological facts are incontrovertible: 80% of ancient forests are already gone, first time industrial forestry in primary forests permanently changes them, and even FSC's standards provide no guarantees of ecological sustainability of forest management. The answer is to limit FSC certification of industrial forestry to secondary and natural planted forests, while only certifying community based small scale eco-forestry in ancient primary forests. And simply leaving ancient forest ecosystems alone, while helping them to expand, is always by far the best outcome, however difficult it may be to achieve. Planetary survival will not come easily.
Well intended but ecologically depauperate forest conservation strategies must be confronted before there is nothing left. It is better that forest campaign strategies in our last old-growth cathedrals are somewhat na´ve rather than ecologically insufficient. If just logging more carefully was the answer to global forest sustainability, the world's forests would have been saved long ago. The cold, hard and unpleasant truth is that FSC certification of industrial harvest of primary forests is the polar opposite of protecting endangered forests.
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Title: Weyerhaeuser illegally logging Canadian Boreal to supply Xerox, investigation finds
Source: Rainforest Action Network Press Release
Date: July 4, 2205
Byline: Dan Eaton and Tomi Soetjipto
For immediate release:
Friday, July 15, 2005
Paul West, Rainforest Action Network, (415) 398-4404 x319, email@example.com
Allyson Brady, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, (306) 665-1915
Devon Page, Sierra Legal Defence Fund, (604) 685-5618 x233
Joys Dancer, citizen of Sasketchewan, (306) 342-4689
New Report Exposes Illegal Logging In Canada?s Boreal Forests By Weyerhaeuser Operations Supplying Xerox
* Saskatchewan residents and Weyerhaeuser loggers speak out in controversial new grassroots documentary.
* Clear-cut case study provides government documents proving Weyerhaeuser violations.
* Saskatchewan Environmental Society retains Sierra Legal Defence Fund to call on Minister of Justice Frank Quennell to investigate Weyerhaeuser.
* Illegal Weyerhaeuser operations certified as ?sustainable? by the Canadian Standards Association.
Saskatchewan, Canada ? Investigations by local residents, Saskatchewan Environmental Society and Rainforest Action Network reveal that Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY, TSX: WYL) is illegally logging in Canada?s Boreal forests to make plywood and copy paper for Xerox (NYSE: XRX) and other U.S. corporations.
Saskatchewan Environmental Society has retained Sierra Legal Defence Fund to appeal Weyerhaeuser?s certification and call on Minister of Justice Frank Quennell to investigate ?the long-standing, continuing and current legal non-compliance by Weyerhaeuser?s Saskatchewan Forestlands operations.? The Canadian conservation community is calling on Weyerhaeuser customers like Xerox to suspend purchases until the company attains Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for all of its operations.
In ?Saskatchewan: The Province of Weyerhaeuser,? a case study released today, government documents confirm that Weyerhaeuser exceeded its legal summer logging allowance by 100 percent and 20-year road building allowance by 70 percent in less than five years. According to Saskatchewan law, Weyerhaeuser currently owes the province almost $1.5 million in fines for these violations. In a grassroots documentary webcast on RAN.org, Saskatchewan residents and former Weyerhaeuser loggers testify to the company?s disregard of community concerns and destruction of public forests. Despite known violations, Weyerhaeuser is currently certified as ?sustainable? by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
The case study, grassroots video documentary and source documents (PDF) are available for viewing and download online at: http://www.ran.org/weyerhaeuser/
?The CSA framework contains no specific criteria and indicators,? said Allyson Brady of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. ?By allowing repeat offenders like Weyerhaeuser to write the rules, the CSA fails to guarantee even minimal forest protections. The FSC is the only certification system that is trusted by companies, consumers and communities.?
?Most people associate illegal logging with endangered forests in South America, Southeast Asia and Central Africa and are shocked to learn that it is going on in their own back yard right here in North America,? said Brant Olson, director of the Old Growth Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. ?Unlike industry leaders Tembec and Domtar, Weyerhaeuser is a rogue corporation, consistently refusing to respond to constructive community engagement until they are caught red handed. From Haida Gwaii to Pemberton, Weyerhaeuser has proven that it takes the threat of a blockade to get their attention. Until Weyerhaeuser attains FSC certification and adopts a global policy to protect endangered forests and respect human rights, communities across Canada will continue to call on customers to cancel the contracts.?
Saskatchewan Environmental Society
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is a non-profit, registered charity whose mandate is to help build a sustainable society by promoting healthy ecosystems, healthy livelihoods and healthy human communities. For more information, please visit EnvironmentalSociety.ca.
Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Action Network campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit RAN.org.