A grizzly bear in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo © Aaron Wright

Great Bear Rainforest

Deep within the Great Bear Rainforest on British Columbia's coast, you find unique flora and fauna. There are invaluable medicinal plants, rich runs of one of the world's largest wild salmon populations, quirky creatures like the tailed frog and marbled murrelet, and magnificentm and rare wildlife such as the Great Bear's namesake, the Spirit Bear.

Stretching up the coast of British Columbia to Alaska, Canada's Great Bear Rainforest is a stunning wilderness—it's the kind of place that takes your breath away.

The Great Bear Rainforest was given a new lease on life after more than a decade of dedicated campaigning was successful in getting vast areas protected and agreements to end environmentally irresponsible logging.

The public campaign to protect the Great Bear Rainforest included an international spotlight on environmentally irresponsible logging to make toilet paper, decking and phone books. There were protests in the forests and in the marketplace that brought some clever new ideas for collaboration and big solutions.

But the story of the Great Bear Rainforest is a story of diverse interests, including those of loggers, environmentalists, local communities, eco-tourism operators, and government officials coming together to create something amazing: an internationally recognized, groundbreaking model of conservation and human well-being development.

Great Bear Rainforest Agreements

This tremendous amount of work with many players and interests culminated in a series of formal agreements in 2006 and 2009 that:

♦ Protect 2.5 million hectares (6.5 million acres) of the Great Bear Rainforest


♦ Put in place new rules for lighter touch logging.

The system of 'lighter touch' logging is based on Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) principles. Transitional 'lighter touch' logging rules currently require that 50% of the natural level of old growth forest in the region be maintained. This translates to an additional 700,000 hectares (1.7 million acres) of forest set aside from logging. The next step will add approximately another 400,000 hectares (one million acres) to fulfill the science-based conservation requirement.

♦  Fund a conservation economy

$120 million is available to First Nation communities to help kick-start a new conservation economy as an alternative to logging throughout the rainforest and to help manage conservation in their territories.

♦ New governance and decision-making

New government-to-government relationships between First Nations and the BC government gives First Nations say in resource management in their lands and has mechanisms for collaboration.

Currently forest management legally requires that 50% of the natural level of old forest be maintained. Forest and ecology science experts say that the Great Beat Rainforest is not safe until 70% of the natural level of old growth is maintained. The province and industry have agreed that this is the goal.

ForestEthics is committed to seeing this goal implemented.

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