Topic 2: A Canadian variation


In Topic 1, we saw how concerns about the future of the Northern Spotted Owl in Pacific Northwest forests had resulted firstly in a major reduction in the rate of harvesting from federal forest lands and subsequently in the introduction of ecosystem management. These changes were closely watched in Canada, particularly in neighboring British Columbia. The flashpoint in British Columbia occurred when a mass protest against the logging of old-growth forests occurred at Clayoquot Sound in the summer of 1993. In this topic, you will learn more about what led up to these protests, the scientific panel that the Government of British Columbia established to look at the concerns raised by the protesters. You will see how the Panel’s recommendations changed logging practices over a huge area of coastal rainforest stretching along the western coast of British Columbia.

There is a major difference between the management of coastal rainforests in the USA and Canada. While the USA favoured ecosystem management, Canada has developed a variant know as ecosystem-based management. This is quite similar to ecosystem management, but is also concerned about the well-being of human communities in a region, and seeks to balance the maintenance of ecosystem processes with the maintenance of human well-being.

The text provides some background to forest management practices in British Columbia. It also provides links to some excellent resources on ecosystem-based management. In the presentation, I explain why the old-growth rainforests of the coast stir up so much emotion, focusing on some of the wildlife found there. These forests cover a huge area, and many communities are dependent on them. Can they be developed in a way that preserves their beauty and ecological integrity?

Background Info

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Video Lectures

1.2.1 A Canadian variation: Sustainable forest management in British Columbia

1.2.2 A Canadian example: Clayoquot Sound and the coastal rainforests of British Columbia

1.2.3 Clayoquot Sound: a visual story

1.2.4 The Clayoquot Sound Scientific Panel


Further reading:

  • George, P. (2006). Big trees not big stumps: 25 years of campaigning to save wilderness with the Wilderness Committee. Vancouver: Western Canada Wilderness Committee. ISBN-10:1895123038; ISBN-13: 978-1895123036
  • Marchak, M.P., Aycock, S.L., & Herbert, D.M. (1999). Falldown: Forest policy in British Columbia. Vancouver: David Suzuki Foundation and Ecotrust Canada. Retrieved from
  • Schoonmaker, P.K., von Hagen, B., & Wolf, E.C. (Eds.). (1997). The rain forests of home: Profile of a North American bioregion. Washington DC: Island Press. ISBN-10:1559634804; ISBN-13: 978-1559634809


Module I - Topic 2: Self-test

Quiz Description:

The following self-test quiz is designed to check your understanding of important learning concepts for this topic. The quiz contains ten multiple choice questions. There is no time limit for you to take the quiz and you may attempt to take it as many times as you like. After you click the Submit button, you will see your Grade, number of Correct Answers, your answers, and the Answer Key for each question.

Quiz Instructions:

While you are taking the quiz, we advise you not referring to any course materials. After you Submit your answers, you may self-reflect the missing points, review relevant contents as necessary, and retake the quiz again until you get the full points

Answer the following questions to see how well you have learnt in this topic: