Tension is rising in British Columbia as timber companies begin to log what many call the Great Bear Rain Forest along Canada’s western coast, a vast, largely undisturbed old-growth area comprising one quarter of the world’s remaining temperate rainforest. Arguing that the economy needed a boost, the British Columbia government recently slashed logging royalties to get the cutting started in this area, which enviros have dubbed “the Brazil of the north.” Tour operators, native groups, and Canadian and American environmentalists are all working to fight the logging. The economy in British Columbia is gradually shifting away from timber dependence, with the tourism industry now employing more people than the forest products industry. Still, the logging companies have great political power, and most refuse to abandon clear-cutting.
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