Photo of B.C. clearcut selected for international competition

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      TJ Watt's photo of an old-growth clearcut on Vancouver Island is being shared on social media to highlight "unsustainable" forestry practices in tree farm licences across the province.

      The Victoria-based photographer with the Ancient Forest Alliance took the picture in January at a Western Forest Products tree farm on Crown land in the Klanawa Valley.

      Now the photo is set to gain addition exposure in London, where it will be exhibited from June 23 to July 4.

      That's because it has been selected for the Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year competition, described as an "international showcase for the very best in environmental photography and film".

      The top prize in the competition is £5000 ($9,100).



      June Hamley

      May 28, 2014 at 8:38pm

      Really showcase how clearcuts make the landscape feel like like a ghost of it's former being...when i see this, my heart feels's like chopping off our connection to nature. So sad.

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      May 30, 2014 at 9:05am

      I feel like there are two sides to this story... you should also show a photo of the beautiful green that flourishes shortly after this and after all those hard working tree planters throw down some roots for the future.


      May 30, 2014 at 9:57am

      Kind of reminds me of when you see unattractive paparazzi photos of celebrity. Always from the worst angle on the worst day to purposely make them look terrible.

      Clearcuts can look bad but the ones I've seen in BC of highways or in photos are always surrounded by other trees and forest.

      And it will grow back. My cousin and his friends go tree planting every summer and they love it! They have work and they are replenishing the forest. That is sustainable.


      May 30, 2014 at 10:01am

      "off highways"


      May 30, 2014 at 12:01pm

      In 25 years you would not recognize this as the same location. The site would likely have a mix of red cedar, douglas fir and white pine planted on it by treeplanting crews (I spent 23 years planting trees myself). A wide variety of natural regeneration would also occur and much of the fauna would have returned. I agree that this looks horrid now, but over-time it will come back and if left alone for a couple of hundred years, the cycle could be repeated again!

      Having said that, I do also agree that there are certain special and threatened places that should be left alone to enjoy as examples and sources for old growth biodiversity. It's just that, in my opinion, the argument needs to be made based on something other then an evocative photograph.


      May 30, 2014 at 12:16pm

      yeah, it would be back to old growth in no time. just like they're going to restore millenia years old bogs after the tar sands work is done.

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      Jun 1, 2014 at 10:39am

      Knowing that this photo has received some international recognition for apparently showcasing "unsustainable" practices is very sad. It assumes old ways of thinking and is just out of date with the reality.

      Today, BC (all of Canada, in fact) is a world leader in sustainable forestry. This information is widely available.

      There is a responsibility that comes with photography and representing your country. Misrepresentation is harmful to all.

      I kindly ask you, TJ Watt to please inform yourself more about the entire cycle of forestry in BC as it is today and then use this information to accompany your photos. You have this power.

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      Martin Dunphy

      Jun 1, 2014 at 12:30pm


      A picture is worth... 896 words more than your post.

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      Jun 2, 2014 at 2:34pm

      @Martin Dunphy

      That's right! A picture is worth 1000 words. That is why it is best to show pictures that depict everything, so we get the whole story instead of just 1000 words. Some of TJ's photos show the different stages of forest growth, including clear-cuts, newly planted seedlings, growing forests and full forests, all beside one another. In that, we can see the whole cycle as opposed to just a part. It's too bad he didn't choose a photo that shows regrowth, instead of one that just makes it look like a wasteland.

      Martin Dunphy

      Jun 2, 2014 at 2:43pm


      Sorry, in my opinion it's not Mr. Watt's responsibility to depict industry greening efforts.
      It's up to you....I mean....the industry to do that.
      And that industry appears to be well represented on this particular thread.
      Just saying.