Scientists call for protection of Clayoquot Sound forests
B.C. scientists are among more than 133 experts from across North America joining the call for permanent protection of old-growth rainforests in Clayoquot Sound.
All have signed a declaration supporting the measure, which stands against a recent application to the provincial government by the logging company Iisaak to cut old-growth areas on the sound's Flores Island. The company is a First Nations-led concern that espouses forestry practised in concert with ecological and cultural values.
According to Sierra Club B.C., only 21 of 282 rainforest watersheds on Vancouver Island remain unlogged. Seven of the 21 do not have permanent protection, including five in the Clayoquot area.
Local names listed on the declaration are Neville Winchester and Richard Ring, both with the University of Victoria biology department, and retired ecologist Bristol Foster from Salt-spring Island. Clayoquot Sound was designated as a United Nations biosphere reserve in 2000, which garnered support from the federal and provincial governments, First Nations groups and affected communities. Before that, the sound was known for protests and acts of civil disobedience.
Biosphere reserves such as Clayoquot Sound, which takes in more than 2,600 square kilometres, are intended to be models of the way humans and nature should co-exist. While the designation does not include regulatory powers, the recognition that comes with it tends to bring emphasis to sustainability and protection of the land.
The declaration cites the international significance of Clayoquot Sound: "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 intact valleys of Clayoquot Sound."