After years of pressure by Greenpeace, on February 7, 2006 the British Columbia Government announced a comprehensive solution for the Great Bear Rainforest including the protection of 2 million hectares of coastal temperate rainforest from the chainsaw, an area close to four times the size of Prince Edward Island.
After years of pressure by Greenpeace, the British Columbia Government announced a comprehensive solution for the Great Bear Rainforest including the protection of 2 million hectares of coastal temperate rainforest from the chainsaw, an area close to four times the size of Prince Edward Island.
Just as important, the announcement sets the stage for 2009 when sustainable logging practices called Ecosystem Based Management will be used in the entire rainforest. The Great Bear agreement also includes greater First Nations control over their traditional territory and a commitment to a new economy for the region based on conservation.
The struggle began in 1995 as a 'War in the Woods' with Greenpeace blockading rainforest logging roads with local First Nations. An international markets campaign was launched to bring consumer pressure on logging companies in the region to stop clearcutting. We were successful in getting large customers all over the world to cancel their contracts. As a result, Greenpeace had put an end to the usual ‘talk and log’ negotiations over the Great Bear Rainforest when logging companies agreed to a moratorium on logging in the large intact rainforest valleys while solutions were being developed.
This conflict and the negotiated truce with logging companies paved the way for an unprecedented multi-stakeholder process to develop solutions based on independent science. Greenpeace has spent the last five years participating in planning processes, negotiations and meetings with government and industry leaders to ensure that the ecological integrity and biodiversity of the rainforest is a cornerstone of the Great Bear Agreement.
Greenpeace stands alongside government, First Nations, industry leaders, and other environmental groupscommunities to celebrate a monumental agreement for the future of the Great Bear Rainforest.
The Great Bear Agreement means:
- 2 million hectares protected from logging (almost four times the size of Prince Edward Island);
- The application of better, lighter touch forestry by March 2009, called Ecosystem Based Management
- Comprehensive First Nations involvement in management over their entire traditional territory
- The diversification of the economy based on conservation
If all promises are kept, the agreement will create a global model of sustainability for other rare ecosystems around the world.
The announcement today is the end of the beginning for Greenpeace. Now, the true measure of success will be taking these agreements on paper and turning them into a reality in the rainforest.
Greenpeace remains committed to the future of the Great Bear Rainforest. We will continue our work to make these agreements real and provide you with updates and opportunities to get active and protect the Great Bear Rainforest.