Independent science to save the Great Bear Rainforest

Publication - March 31, 2009
Greenpeace, along with three other environmental groups, the logging industry, First Nations governments, communities and the Provincial and Federal governments established a blue ribbon science team to provide independent, multidisciplinary information and analysis on Ecosystem-based Management. This Coast Information Team took $3.3 million to complete its work but this independent science has contributed significantly to recent agreements.

One report, called the Ecosystem Spatial Analysis, looked at over 70 different species and mapped how they used the landscape of the Great Bear Rainforest. Based on this mapping the scientists estimated that 44 to 60% of the landbase was required to meet only the minimum requirements for these species.

A second report, the Ecosystem-based Management Handbook maps out how to decide what must be left before deciding what to take. This science team has insured that Ecosystem-based Management for the Great Bear Rainforest will not be ill defined and become a term that is merely used for greenwashing status quo logging practices. Ecosystem-based Management will require a shift in the way forestry planning occurs. It requires a multi-scale approach, allowing high risk logging in some less sensitive watersheds so long as low risk is maintained overall throughout the rainforest.

Other reports produced by the Independent Science Team

What is Ecosystem Based Management (EBM)?

The world class science used to develop Ecosystem Based Management specifically for the Great Bear Rainforest states that in order for ecosystems of the rainforest to exist and be healthy into the distant future, 70% of each ecosystem would need to remain in its natural state. 

With 33% of the Great Bear Rainforest now saved from the chainsaw, EBM is a system for determining exactly how much of each ecosystem remains untouched in each part of the region so that the 70% target of healthy ecosystem representation is met overall.  When deciding exactly which areas will remain in their natural state, EBM considers a complex range of variables to capture the areas that make the most sense given all the best science and First Nations experience.  Just a few of the variables EBM considers are the connectivity of ecosystems, the interplay between species, habitat requirements, endangered species, the sensitivity of aquatic environments, and First Nations cultural and traditional values.

EBM adds ecological science and First Nations experience to industrial activity in the Great Bear Rainforest so that a wider range of values are represented.