A coalition of environmental organizations says the Great Bear Rainforest along B.C.'s central coast is once again threatened by logging.

The B.C. branch of the Sierra Club, along with Greenpeace and ForestEthics, claim old-growth forest — including trees that are more than 1,000 years old —- is now at risk because of an increase in clear-cutting by the company TimberWest Forest Corp.

"Some of these species will not make it, at least in this part of the Great Bear forest, which has already been hit very hard in the past decades already," said Sierra Club forest campaigner Jens Wieting.

Wieting said a recent aerial review of the forest revealed the damage of recent logging.

"We saw and extended patchwork of clearcuts," he said. "So it's very important we take the next step to allow the older second growth to become old growth again and take immediate action to set aside habitat for species like grizzly bear, northern gosshawks, marbled murrelets, et cetera."

In compliance, says company

Wieting said existing conservation agreements, which set the bar high for managing the forest, haven't been fully implemented, and now that TimberWest is under new management, there's concern the agreements never will be put into effect.


The Great Bear rainforest area dominates B.C.'s central coast. (spiritbear.com)

Company officials denounce the environmentalists' claims.

Spokeswoman Sue Handel said the company is in full compliance with existing frameworks for conservation in the rainforest.

"TimberWest does already meet the legal requirements of ecosystem-based management in the area and we will continue to do so," said Handel. "As far as further increasing the expectations of conservation in the area, that's a conversation we're having now and we think we can make the same commitment other companies have in that area."

With files from the CBC's Priya Ramu