Nature Canada

International Scientists Call Out the Trudeau Government for Undermining Action to Stop Forest Degradation

The government of Canada’s failure to acknowledge and address forest degradation is impeding global progress on forest protection and could jeopardize exports.

Unceded Algonquin Territory — Ottawa, ON — November 8, 2023

Over 100 scientists from around the world have written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging his government to stop obstructing global forest policy. Their letter asks him to recognize and address the significant harm industrial logging is causing to Canada’s forests.

The scientists call for the Trudeau government to “recognize and address forest degradation domestically…and to support, rather than hinder, global policymaking that advances efforts to halt and reverse forest degradation.”

The letter responds to lobbying from Canadian federal officials against a European Union law banning the import of wood and other products linked to deforestation and forest degradation. Since the law passed, provincial and federal policymakers have pursued “defensive measures” to reframe the definition of “degradation” to accommodate industry interests.

“Unsustainable forest impacts are not confined to the tropics,” said Dr. Dominick DellaSala of Wild Heritage. “The government of Canada might be trying to circumvent this new EU law, but it cannot sidestep growing scientific scrutiny over Canada’ egregious logging practices, considered among the worst for temperate and boreal regions of the world, and the fact that its industry is falling increasingly out of alignment with the world’s policies and markets.”

The authors of the letter clarify that “industrial logging of primary and old-growth forests invariably degrades forests,” eroding their value for the climate, biodiversity, and services like water filtration. The government of Canada, on the other hand, describes logging of these forests as “sustainable forest management”, and has not acknowledged the degradation it is causing.

“Primary and old-growth forests are dynamic, interconnected ecosystems,” said Dr. Suzanne Simard with University of British Columbia. “No matter the sustainability claims or how many trees industry replants, the loss of these forests is irremediable.”

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For more information:

Margie Kelly

Michael Polanyi

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