CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Alternatives to Clearcutting

Social Studies, Business Studies, Geography
2 to 3 lessons
To research current forest industry practices in Canada
Students will use a variety of web-based resources to understand the controversies over current forest industry practices and to present alternatives acceptable to both the forest industry and environmental groups.

Lesson Plan


The forest industry is one of the most important sectors of the Canadian economy. It employs a significant number of people in logging, lumberyards, and pulp and paper factories. British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Manitoba depend on this industry as a major employer and source of prosperity. Forestry exports are a key component of Canada's trade. In recent decades, however, the forest industry has faced mounting criticism from environmental groups who have questioned the ecological soundness of some of its operations, especially the clearcutting of old-growth forests.

The Task

Students will prepare and present a research report on current controversies between the forest industry in Canada and the environmental groups who have criticized some of its practices and activities. Students will also develop and offer their own proposals for resolving the conflict in a way that is acceptable to both sides.

Students should include information and viewpoints about the economic importance of the forest industry to Canada and why it is important that Canada's forests be protected as critical parts of our country's ecosystem.

The Process

Students may work individually, in pairs, or in small groups. They should begin their research on the topic Clearcutting and Logging: The War of the Woods on the CBC Digital Archives website and then seek out and use any other resources they deem relevant. Students should note all sources consulted and cited.


Have each student, pair, or group present a short summary of their research and state their proposals for a resolution satisfactory to both sides in the debate. After the presentations, the class as a whole can discuss these proposals and select the ones they think are the most practical for preserving both the economic and environmental benefits of forestry in Canada.


Davis, Lawrence S., et al. Forest Management: To Sustain Ecological, Economic, and Social Values. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Rajala, Richard. Clearcutting the Pacific Rainforest: Production, Science, and Regulation. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1998.
Williams, Michael. Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Forest Alert. (National Film Board of Canada, 1999: Robert Monderie and Richard Desjardins, dirs.)
Fury for the Sound: The Women of Clayoquot. (Telltale Productions, 1997: Shelley Wine, dir.)


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