New Risk of Logging in Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve

Old growth valleys must be protected, say 133 scientists and conservation groups

Vancouver, BC – The B.C. government has received an application for cutblocks in the old growth rainforest of Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that was the site of the largest civil disobedience protest in Canada’s history in 1993.

“It’s very disturbing that the B.C. government could approve logging of one of Vancouver Island’s last intact ancient rainforest valleys,” said Dan Lewis, Executive Director of Friends of Clayoquot Sound. “People believe that Clayoquot Sound’s famous rainforests are protected, but they aren’t.”

More than 130 scientists across North America have just signed a declaration calling for permanent protection of Clayoquot’s remaining intact old-growth rainforests. “Given the global importance of the region and the imminent threats posed to intact rainforests, we the undersigned urge First Nations, provincial and federal decision-makers, logging companies, and other stakeholders to cease logging in all remaining intact valleys of Clayoquot Sound,” says the declaration, released today.

A new Sierra Club BC map, also released today, shows that only 21 of Vancouver Island’s 282 rainforest watersheds are unlogged. Of the seven unlogged Vancouver Island watersheds that lack permanent protection, five are in Clayoquot Sound, including the Flores Island watershed now at risk of being logged.

“Our map shows that there is nowhere else left on Vancouver Island, except Clayoquot Sound, that provides extensive high quality habitat for rainforest species such as bears and wolves,” said Jens Wieting, Forest Campaigner with Sierra Club BC.

Clayoquot was designated a United Nations Biosphere Reserve in 2000, but that designation does not confer legal protection. A 1999 Memorandum of Understanding, signed by First Nations and environmental groups, outlined intact rainforest valleys in Clayoquot deserving protection, including the valley now slated for logging on Flores Island, north of Tofino. Yet those valleys are still unprotected.

“Clayoquot’s ancient forests store more carbon per hectare than almost any other forest on earth, and protecting Clayoquot’s old-growth watersheds plays a key role in fighting global warming,” said Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist and President of the Geos Institute in Oregon, one of the signatories of the “Scientists’ Declaration to Protect Intact, Old-Growth Rainforests of Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia.”

The logging company Iisaak applied to the B.C. government for cutting permits on Flores during on-going talks with environmental groups about conservation financing for Clayoquot’s intact valleys. Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Sierra Club BC and other environmental organizations working to protect the intact rainforests of the region are calling on the B.C. government to offer short-term alternatives to logging, in order to allow more time to develop solutions for protection like conservation financing.

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For more information, please contact:

Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist and President of Geos Institute, Ashland, Oregon, 541/482-4459 x302

Dan Lewis, Executive Director, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, 250/725-4218

Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC Coastal Forest Campaigner: 604/354-5312

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