Recently, one of Canada’s leading TV newsmagazines, Radio-Canada’s Enquête, spent months investigating the issues around Boreal forest management. After looking closely at the facts, the hour-long exposé that aired on March 24 highlighted a pattern of misinformation and misleading communications by Greenpeace.
Confronting Greenpeace with the facts
NARRATOR: You are publishing an image of forests burnt down by forest fires. NARRATOR: We asked Nicolas Mainville for explanations. Did you do it on purpose? MAINVILLE: I don’t know exactly what image you’re talking about but it makes me laugh a bit. NARRATOR: But, still, the question is that: just how rigorous are you? NARRATOR: After seeing the images, Nicolas Mainville persists, saying that this recovery of dead wood does not get his blessing. MAINVILLE: When you have a natural disturbance and then you add an anthropic disturbance on top of it, you are compromising regeneration. It’s clear.
What Greenpeace misses when viewing the boreal
We are here in Abitibi, close to Lebel-sur-Quévillon, to see this forest that seems iconic to Richard Garneau [CEO of Resolute]. And, if he loves this example so much, it’s maybe because it illustrates the distance that sometimes separates environmentalists, who look at the forest from afar, i.e. from the city, or even from the air, as done by Richard Desjardins in his film L’erreur boréale. But what we couldn’t see from the air at the time was that, already, on the ground, there were small plants. Small plants like this one that had been planted by forestry technicians. Whether it’s by natural regeneration, as is most often the case, or through planting, as is the case here, 20 years after logging we rarely find deforestation. Instead, we find new forests.
How much of the boreal is really protected?
MAINVILLE: At the moment, only 5% of our forests are protected and this is a major gap that must be fixed. NARRATOR: This 5% rate of protection, quoted by Greenpeace for years, does not tell the whole truth: it’s the statistic hidden by the forest. In Quebec, logging in the boreal forest is forbidden north of this line, called the northern border. The forest there is, in fact, protected by law. Greenpeace has chosen to gloss over this fact. The public looking at a map can see that that over 40% of the boreal forest in Quebec is outside the reach of the wood industry. Productive public forest, no. Continuous public forest, yes. This huge difference is significant: we are not fighting for the last few acres of forest. In this debate, where perceptions are crucial, the wood industry starts out with a very large obstacle before it.
You can visit Enquête’s web page on the story here.