Greenpeace blockades a Quebec ministry to protest forestry practices

Image by pfly via Flickr

After delivering to the ministry a load of two-by-fours manufactured by AbitibiBowater, Canada’s largest and most destructive logging company, a dozen Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the building doors, at 880 Chemin Sainte-Foy in Quebec City. They also hung a banner reading: “Boreal Forest: The Destruction Starts Here”.

“The ministry’s regular business has been to approve forest destruction for decades. Today, we are here to disrupt that business,” said Nicolas Mainville, Greenpeace forest campaigner. “It is time for the ministry to drastically change direction towards sustainable forestry and protection of our natural heritage

This “Return to Sender” operation began early this morning, when activists collected AbitibiBowater wood in the Québec City area and then returned it to the ministry responsible for forest management. The timber was stamped with the message: “PRODUCT OF DESTRUCTION.”

This ministry is planning to approve in the fall a new forest bill that would allow intensive forestry in an area 150 times larger than the island of Montreal and would further support the degradation of the province’s last remaining intact forest areas and habitat of threatened woodland caribou.

Less than five per cent of the allocated forest is protected from development while only 10 per cent remains intact. These intact areas store the highest levels of carbon and provide the best habitat for caribou. The forest bill currently sitting on the ministry’s desks would further degrade these areas.

“Without a considerable expansion of the current network of protected areas, sustainable forestry is not achievable,” said Mainville. “Minister Normandeau must include a strategy to protect our last intact forests in the new forest regime. Quebec’s credibility is at stake and the world is watching.”

Even though Canada’s Boreal Forest is the largest terrestrial reserve of carbon on the planet, the Quebec government has licensed over 84 per cent of Quebec’s productive forests to logging companies. AbitibiBowater is allowed to exploit up to 6.4 million cubic metres of wood from Quebec forests every year.

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