Final Agreement Will Safeguard Great Bear Rainforest in Canada

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Final Agreement Will Safeguard Great Bear Rainforest in Canada

A wide coalition of governments, industry and environmental groups, announced the fulfillment of a historic deal to help save the Great Bear Rainforest.

VANCOUVER - Today, a wide coalition of governments, industry and environmental groups, announced the fulfillment of a historic deal to help save the Great Bear Rainforest. The coalition comprises First Nations governments, the British Columbia government, Greenpeace, ForestEthics Solutions, Sierra Club BC and five forestry companies.

With its objectives set out more than a decade ago, the Agreements strongly protect wildlife and help mitigate climate change, support improved community well-being, and provide economic certainty to the forestry sector. As of now, 7.6 million acres – 85 percent of the region’s coastal temperate rainforests – are permanently off-limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 percent will be subject to the most stringent commercial logging legal standards in North America, with stronger First Nations oversight of their lands.

“The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements is one of the most visionary forest conservation plans on Earth,” says Valerie Langer, ForestEthics Solutions Director. “It is a principled approach that sets a new legal and science-based standard for sustaining healthy forests and maintains intact, old-growth that will keep millions of tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere.”

“The fulfilment of this work represents 20 years of campaigning for the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada and beyond. In the United States, Greenpeace supporters and allied organizations raised their voices together, to call for the protection of this irreplaceable region and forestry companies listened” said Rolf Skar, Greenpeace USA Forest Campaign Director. “From conflict to collaboration, we now celebrate the protection of areas of cultural and ecological importance while ensuring economic opportunities for the communities exist long into the future.”

British Columbia’s coastal old-growth rainforests store huge amounts of carbon accumulated over thousands of years. Increased protection of old-growth forests will result in an immediate reduction of carbon losses from logging.

The five members of the industry group that worked together with the environmental organizations as stakeholders to support the process are Interfor Corporation, Western Forest Products, BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper. All parties involved are committed to Annual Monitoring reports and a five-year and ten-year review mechanism.

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