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Crisis in Canadian forestry

The Story


Decades of treating the forests as a non-renewable resource have finally caught up with us. Today, a stark reality stares us squarely in the face: the health of forestry -- Canada's biggest industry -- is threatened. Canada hasn't replaced what it has taken from the forests, and has an abysmal record of natural forest regeneration. As a result, Canada's economic future and standard of living teeters perilously in the balance. This CBC Radio report talks to industry spokesmen and environmentalists in examining the crisis in Canadian forestry. Dr. Stuart Smith, Science Council of Canada, prescribes proper forest management in addressing the problem. "It's absolutely vital to our economic future. Unfortunately, we've taken a very short-term attitude towards our forests: 'there's a tree, cut it down, ship it out.' Rather than managing the forests as a long-term resource." But Ron Langstaff, an executive at one of Canada's largest forestry companies, says that without funding from the cash-strapped government, proper forest management isn't feasible.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: Feb. 12, 1984
Guest(s): Milly Barrett, Gordon Baskerville, David Curtis, Abel Leblanc, Ron Longstaff, Morris Mackay, George Marek, Lawrence McRae, Fred Osselman, Stuart Smith, Malcolm Squires, Herman Van Duyn, Jack Walters
Host: Barbara Smith, Christopher Thomas
Reporter: James Cullingham, David McLauchlin, Greg Middletown
Duration: 23:43

Did You know?


. Natural Resources Canada defines sustainable forest management as "the attainment of balance — balance between society's increasing demands for forest products and benefits, and the preservation of forest health and diversity. This balance is critical to the survival of our forests, and to the prosperity of forest-dependent communities in all regions of Canada."

. In 1984, the year of this report, the forestry industry was worth $23 billion Cdn. per year, and employed one out of every 10 Canadians. The revenue from forestry exports was greater than that of oil and gas, minerals, agriculture and fisheries combined.


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