July 26, 2004

Group claims U.S. consumption threatens Canadian boreal forest

A BC-based environmental organization, ForestEthics, says Canada's boreal forest, an area stretching from Alaska to the Atlantic across the centre of Canada, is being clearcut at unsustainable rates for U.S. consumption. Its report, "Bringing Down the Boreal: How U.S. Consumption of Forest Products is Destroying Canada's Endangered Northern Forests," lists 14 companies which the group claims are currently involved in unsustainable logging practices in the boreal forest and asks U.S. customers of their lumber and pulp and paper mills to stop buying from these companies.

Hot-listed companies include: Abitibi-Consolidated, Weyerhaeuser, Bowater, Tolko, Kruger, Louisiana Pacific, Canfor Corporation, Buchanan Industries, International Paper, Uniforet, Kimberly-Clark, Daishowa Marubeni, Millar Western and Fraser Paper/Nexfor/Norbord.

The report commends three companies -- Alberta Pacific, Domtar and Tembec Industries -- for moving toward better practices. Those include using alternative fibres in pulp mills, working with other stakeholders to establish protected areas and moving toward using FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified wood for production.

Despite its international ecological importance, only 8% of Canada's boreal forest is set aside as protected area. The report says Canadian governments have already allocated most of the productive timber lands - about 30% of the Boreal forest - to logging companies. The vast majority of these allocated forests have been licensed to 16 companies, it adds.

Other statistics presented in the report state that:

*the Canadian boreal provides about 20% of the world's supply of market pulp for paper products;

*U.S. consumers buy more than half of all Boreal wood and paper production;

*46% of all newsprint consumed in the U.S. originates from Canadian forests, primarily boreal; and

*many of North America's largest catalogs and tissue product manufacturers use virgin boreal pulp.

The report may be viewed on the ForestEthics Web site, www.forestethics.org. More information is available from ForestEthics program director Tzeporah Berman, 250/935-0061.

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