back to cover

Section 7 - Taking It All Away - Communities on Haida Gwaii say Enough is Enough

Cover | Introduction | Goodbye Wood, Goodbye Jobs | Where the Cut Goes
Lower the Cut - Retain the Jobs | Redesigning the Status Quo
Untenable Tenure | Hitting the Wall
Islands Community Stability Initiative

When the Ministry of Forests released its review of the Queen Charlotte TSA, it forecast that the current AAC could not be sustained.

"Using current management assumptions, the analysis results indicate that the current harvest level must be reduced immediately by about 14% or 72,000 cubic metres per year to 442,000 cubic metres per year in order to avoid significant future shortfalls in timber supply," the report concluded. "To continue to avoid major harvest shortfalls, the harvest forecast declines from this reduced initial harvest level by about 12 percent per decade over the next 6 decades to a low of about 205,000 cubic metres per year."

The report also forecast that in about 150 to 180 years a "steady long-term harvest level" of about 248,000 cubic metres would finally be reached. In other words, the long-term and apparently sustainable rate of logging was 52 percent below the current rate.

This finding is not unique to the Queen Charlottes. In other Timber Supply Areas where there has been a significant amount of logging, MOF analysts have concluded that current logging rates cannot be sustained and must be lowered. As a result, logging rates are dropping or are poised to drop in many TSAs.

Confronted with the above analysis, community leaders in Haida Gwaii met early in 1995 to discuss the timber supply problem. Their discussions focused on the issue of immediate concern, the future cut in the TSA. But their thoughts apply equally to the rate of cut and the configuration of the forest industry in TFLs.
After several meetings, the community leaders settled on a course of action. In a letter to BC's Chief Forester, Larry Pedersen, they demanded: an end to the status quo, substantially reduced logging rates, and a dramatically restructured forest tenure system.

"Our community requires a sustainable natural resource base," they wrote. "It is clear from our observations and from the documents that your Ministry has prepared that our local TSA is not currently being managed in this way, as indicated by the current AAC which is 2.2 times the Long Term Harvest Level. From the standpoint of the well-being of our Island community, we need major changes to this state of affairs."

In a subsequent letter to Forests Minister Andrew Petter, the same community leaders made another demand. They called for the transfer of timber-cutting rights or timber tenures within the TSA from the forest companies to the control of the Islands Community.

"The current allocation of timber cutting rights in the Queen Charlotte Timber Supply Area represents a significant threat to the future of our Islands community," the Islanders wrote. "The Socio-Economic Analysis confirms that the return to our Islands is unacceptably low. It is our belief that 100 percent of the TSA should be managed by the communities of these Islands."
back to cover