In the Bight: The BC Forest Industry Today


304 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55017-161-5
DDC 333.75'09711






Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is the former executive director of the Canadian Museum
of Nature.


The number of recent books on forestry in British Columbia must
themselves be a threat to the trees. Drushka, a logger and journalist,
provides an update to his 1985 Stumped by examining this troubled
industry and suggesting improvements. In the opening overviews of
natural history and the history of forest policy, the economic analysis
of industrial strategies, as well as the comparisons with Ontario and
the United States, are illuminating. Drushka outlines the complex tale
of corporations, workers, communities, and governments (these being
variously ineffective or interfering), with concomitant shenanigans and
changing views on forests, from exploitation through sustainability to
professional management. Beyond the economic and political analyses, the
review of silviculture is excellent. Most valuable are his
recommendations (based on examples from abroad) for reconfiguring the
industry through more incentives, fewer regulations, and strengthening
the rural sector. There are tables, notes, an index, and an appendix of
numerical data whose linkage to the text is sometimes unclear.

Drushka’s focus is on the industry, its products, and the milieu in
which it operates; he pays scant attention to other aspects such as
environmentalism or Natives. There is some redundancy across chapters
and occasional lapses (e.g., 900 Canadians died at Dieppe, not
“thousands”). On a more positive note, Drushka’s style is vigorous
and his views are clear. His sense of urgency, and several of his
specific calls to action (especially with respect to forest tenure,
revenues, and community links) are echoed in other books, which is
heartening. In the Bight is recommended for everyone concerned with
British Columbia, forests, or the environment at large.


Drushka, Ken., “In the Bight: The BC Forest Industry Today,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 15, 2024,