Two of Canada’s largest timber firms, International Forest Products (Interfor) and West Fraser, are being accused of stripping the best timber from forests before handing them back to the state.

The accusations, aired at a union-sponsored forestry forum, centre on the companies’ timber holdings along the ocean inlets south of Kitimat

One member of the Industrial, Allied and Woodworkers Union said Interfor and West Fraser were also in line for big compensation payouts for giving up the land.

The handback of timber stands this year is the result of the Forest Revitalisation Act, which stipulates that provinces take back 20% of the annual allowable cut from all major licensees.