12/03/2012

Cortes Island Ancient Forest Defenders Force Island Timberlands To Table

"Cutting these ancient, threatened Douglas-fir is like shooting a black rino."
Cortes Island ancient forest defenders, led by the community alliance Wildstands, have successfully forced Island Timberlands back to the table in the ongoing struggle to protect the island's last remaining old growth forests.

The original Coastal Douglas-fir forest ecozone, small to begin with, has withstood 100 years of industrial exploitation to the point that only 1% remains. A small part of that 1% resides on beautiful Cortes Island.

The government of BC refuses to meaningfully protect this dwindling resource, and in some cases encourages its destruction through investments in the corporations that are slaughtering the last big trees. Responsibility for protection inevitably falls on the caring shoulders of regular folks in the communities being degraded by continued old growth liquidation.

The people gathered together on Cortes as human shields protecting the last veteran trees (250-500 years old) are often those most affected by the degraded conditions left in the wake of industrial clear cut logging.

Zoe Miles, a member of Wildstands, says, “For more than four years, community members have attempted to work with the company to develop an ecosystem-based approach to forestry.  As road-building equipment moves in, the community is now left with no choice but to stand in its path to defend these ecologically significant forests.”

The group aims to "protect the ancient bio-diversity of Cortes Island, and serves as a forum for discussion of the protection, legislation and conservation of this fragile eco-system".

Wildstands blockaded logging equipment in recent days rather than submit its old-growth temperate rainforest to unsustainable logging practices by Island Timberlands, the second largest private timberlands holding in British Columbia.

The first stage of the blockade has been successful, and IT has agreed not to ask for an injunction against the group for at least one week.

Send Island Timberlands an email if you support old growth protection on Cortes Island. Click here.

Our government should know of your wishes as well. Click here.
"People are here because they want to make it known that the industrial forestry model doesn’t work for local communities and it doesn’t work for the province. Island Timberlands will destroy ecologically sensitive ecosystems and leave nothing beneficial in its wake. We will be left with devastated ecosystems, a contaminated water supply and no long term jobs. All the benefit is going to people who live far away and who aren’t aware of the cost of their profits to our community and our province."  - Leah Seltzer

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