Left: huge log booms at the mouth of the Fraser River, Vancouver, 2008 (click to enlarge)

Question: How long can Canada's unethical export of vanishing cedars and ancient big trees continue?

Answer: Until there are none left and all the wild forests of British Columbia have been converted to industrial tree plantations.

Right: An aerial photo of log booms on the mouth of the Fraser River, 24 November 2008 (click to enlarge).

Left: Some of the websites that advocate for the forest products industry and its government handmaidens. Their greenwash conceals the relentless ruination of rainforest biodiversity. As the killing continues and the big trees and ancient forests vanish, the corporate lies become ever more shrill.

Above: Aerial photo of the sawmill and log booms of the Canadian White Pine Company, Fraser River in Vancouver, c. 1960. Owned by MacMillan Bloedel (click to enlarge). University of British Columbia Archives.

Left: Aerial photo on Flickr of a log boom on the Fraser River in Vancouver, 2008 (click to enlarge).

The logging industry calls deforestation "harvesting." Yet when the end result is extinction, a more honest term would be "massacre." One of the largest native species, known as "King Pine," the western white pine (Pinus Monticola) not long ago dominated BC's ancient moist inland forests. Ruthlessly targeted for its high value as wood, including for matchsticks, the ancient tree specimens have today vanished.

By the 1960s, the grand groves of white pine had been wiped out in BC due to greed, clearcutting, mismanagement, disease and pests. The Canadian White Pine Sawmill (above) became part of Weyerhauser in 1999 when it bought out MacMillan Bloedel. Ironically the founders of both companies made their early fortunes by massacring the native white pine. With the lucrative old growth fir, pine and spruce timber gone, the logging industry has turned to the ancient "totem" cedar trees and we are currently witnessing their shameful demise.

It is astonishing that, given the knowledge that we have accumulated about the critical need to preserve biodiversity, the deliberate ruination of intact forests continues into the 21st century. Now that deforestation continues apace in a modern industrial country such as Canada, what hope is there of stopping it in the less developing world?

Right: Aerial photo on Flickr of a huge log boom on the North Fraser River, off University of British Columbia Endowment Lands, 20 April 2005 (click to enlarge).

Left: Log booms on the Fraser River, Howe Sound, off the University of British Columbia Endowment Lands, 1960. Half a century later the huge log booms continue to blight the coastal waters of BC. Above: similar scenes of deforestation can be easily viewed on Flickr.

Even the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia exists under the dark shadow of the logging industry, with one of its primary endowments coming from Harvey MacMillan, who is celebrated as an exemplary citizen rather than reviled as the forest plunderer he was.

Above and left: Photos on Flickr of the Haida Brave, a notorious self dumping raw log barge that has facilitated the deforestation of large parts of BC and Haida Gwaii.

Owned by the Kingcome Company, other cynically named monster vessels in its fleet include: Haida Brave, Haida Monarch, Haida Transporter and the tug Haida Warrior. With a cargo capacity of 11,000 cubic meters of raw logs, the Haida Brave has made easy vast profiteering by transnational forest industry corporations.

None of the profits have gone to the indigenous peoples who rightfully own the forest lands which have been stolen from them and extensively pillaged. The homeland of the Haida People, the island archipelago Haida Gwaii, has been especially targeted by the forest industry. In the process, the giant Sitka spruce trees native to Haida Gwaii have virtually vanished due to their exploitation as high quality wood for the airplane industry in Seattle during both World Wars.

Above: Photo on Flickr of the Haida Brave self dumping log barge on coastal BC waters, on its way to new cargo.

Right: Photo of Haida Warriors in a traditional canoe carved from a single cedar tree, flying the Haida Nation flag, on route to protest against the Haida Brave on 1 August 1996. They stopped the world's biggest log barge with its pillaged cargo of old growth cedars from proceeding through Masset Inlet on Haida Gwaii.

Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas took part in the blockade of the Haida Brave self dumper. "How Many Canoes Are On That Black Ship?" he wrote, "The bloated bow of the ship is a great monstrous maw and as if swallowed into the monster's belly a black gut wall rises behind the canoe. A canoe filled with Haida souls and a single red flag flies on a choppy swell as hundreds of ancient cedar logs hang overhead" Black Ship (Spruceroots).

A landmark legal case was won by the Haida Nation against Weyerhaeuser and the BC government in 2004. Yet the Haida must keep fighting to protect their monumental cedars while the goverment promotes the reviled forest industry: Masset Inlet. Site of one of the most remarkable centres of Northwest Coast culture, Masset Inlet has been ruined by the logging industry but the government praises the Black Ships that "can transport 15,000 tons of felled trees per load – equal to the contents of 400 logging trucks, or 12,000 telephone poles."

Right: Photo by Ian McAllister of a coastal log barge with old growth rainforest, October 2006 (click to enlarge). Behind the log barge the Heiltsuk village of Bella Bella can be seen. Similar scenes take place everywhere in First Nations communities and must be confronted for being unconscionable acts of cultural genocide by transnational corporations.

Note: most of the above photos of old growth logs being transported in massive booms and gigantic barges for the wood products industry are easily available on Flickr. Search under the keywords: boom, barge and British Columbia

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