A satellite survey of Quebec’s northern forests has revealed a mixed story, with both vast areas of pristine forest and heaily-logged regions identified by researchers.

The C$75,000 project, undertaken by Global Forest Watch Canada, found that almost one million km2, or 60% of Quebec, had been disturbed by humans during the 1990s.

The largest clearcut region recorded by the NASA satellite images was three times as big as Montreal Island and situated adjacent to the Outardes reservoir.

The research, funded by the Canadian Boreal Initiative, was designed to provide information to help the government implement the recommendations of the Coulombe Commission, which has proposed a 20% harvesting reduction in Quebec.

Global Forest Watch Canada intends to carry out surveys of other Canadian forests within the next two years.