CBC News has learned Buchanan is surrendering its sustainable forest licenses in all major forests in the northwest.

A Greenpeace spokesperson said the end of the company's operation in the region's sensitive forests is a positive step forward. Richard Brooks, forest campaigner co-ordinator for Greenpeace Canada, is critical of Buchanan's environmental and economic record.

"You even had the Ontario government put out a multi-million dollar loan to Buchanan and they couldn't keep the Terrace Bay mill running," he said. "Generally I think they're bad business managers."

Sustainable approach needed

Brooks said Buchanan's environmental record drove customers away from the Terrace Bay mill.

"A lot of customers didn't want to be purchasing any pulp from Terrace Bay pulp mill because of the environmental degradation that was happening in the surrounding forest area."

He said new management could change that and Buchanan's diminishing presence in region should be a catalyst for a more economically and environmentally sustainable approach to forestry.

"We've seen a real boom and bust under the management of Buchanan," Brooks said. "They've opened sawmills and closed sawmills repeatedly over the past two decades."

Roughly 70 per cent of Kenogami Forest was disrupted by Buchanan's forest operations, he said, leaving very little intact forest habitat on which animals can rely.

Along with the Kenogami, Buchanan surrendered its rights to the Lac Seul forest earlier this year and the crown is in the process of revoking the license for the Ogoki Forest this fall.

Buchanan could remain part of supply chain

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources said it's government policy to revoke the licences of bankrupt companies like Buchanan.

But Kathleen McFadden, the acting assistant deputy minister with the forestry division of the Ministry of Natural Resources, said that won't cut Buchanan completely out of forest operations in the region and the company's mills could still get the wood they need.

"There's the potential for those mills to secure a wood supply through business-to-business arrangements," she said.

As well, McFadden said there's potential the new forest license holder could contract-out harvesting operations to Buchanan.

Buchanan still owns the saw mills in Longlac and Nakina.

CBC News calls to Buchanan Forest Products for comment on this story were not returned.