The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, non-profit association that issues certificates for well managed forests. It was formed through the collaborative efforts of more than one hundred participants representing economic, social, indige

Publication - March 31, 2008
Frequently asked questions about the Great Bear Rainforest and Greenpeace's campaign to protect it.

Where is the Great Bear Rainforest?

The Great Bear Rainforest is located on the coast of British Columbia between the northern tip of Vancouver island and the Alaska panhandle.
See map

What is in the Great Bear Rainforest agreement passed by the British Columbia government on February 7, 2006?

The Great Bear Agreement means:

  1.    2 million hectares protected from logging (almost the size of Prince Edward Island);
  2.    The application of better, lighter touch forestry by March 2009, called Ecosystem Based Management
  3.    Comprehensive First Nations involvement in management over their entire traditional territory
  4.    The diversification of the economy based on conservation

Read more

I thought the GBR was saved - why is Greenpeace still working on this?

Over the last five years agreements have been reached on protected areas and sustainable logging methods in The Great Bear Rainforest, however these agreements have not been implemented. Status quo unsustainable logging continues in the Great Bear, and protection areas are not yet legislated. Greenpeace agrees with the independent science that concludes that current plans for protection will not be enough to protect the Great Bear Rainforest and logging practices must change
  Read about the latest developments

Where does the name come from?

The Great Bear Rainforest gets its name from the grizzly, black and the rare Kermode, or spirit, bears of the temperate rainforest.

Is unsustainable logging still taking place in the Great Bear Rainforest?

Logging practices in the Great Bear are still unsustainable, and will continue to be until the logging industry and the government of British Columbia fully embraces ecosystem based management in the area. For more detailed information on the extent of clearcutting in the Great Bear, visit
http://www.canadianrainforests.org/report_findings/clearcutting

If we don't cut down as many trees, won't we lose jobs?

Sustainable forestry practices do not necessarily mean a loss of jobs. In fact recent research is showing that there will be more jobs if we keep the trees.
Read more (Report, 'Jobs and Trees' 48 K, PDF)

How is Greenpeace helping to find economic solutions for communities in the rainforest?

Greenpeace, along with other environmental groups, are hoping to use the global spotlight focused on this region to support economic diversification and sustainable management in the Great Bear Rainforest. Read more
For more information on how protecting areas and shifting to sustainable practices will help the economy of communities in the Great Bear Rainforest, download this report: "Revitalizing British Columbia's Coastal Economy" (285K, PDF)

Are you opposed to all logging?

No, Greenpeace is not opposed to all logging. Greenpeace is opposed to unsustainable logging practices that harm our environment, like logging right up to salmon streams. Greenpeace would like to replace current logging practices in the Great Bear Rainforest with an integrated approach called Ecosystem Based Management.
Read more

Greenpeace also supports logging done with Forest Stewardship Certification.
Read more

What is Ecosystem-based Management?

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is a method of resource-use planning that puts the stability and long term sustainability of ecosystems at the core of decision-making. The central idea behind EBM is that each element of an ecosystem is vital, as is the relationship between these elements. Ecosystem-based Management may allow higher risk activities in a specific cutblock only if low risk management is applied to the Great Bear Rainforest overall.
Download the EBM Handbook (PDF)

Don't companies replant the forests they cut?

Companies are legally obligated to replant the forests they cut down, but even the most successful replanting effort does not restore the diversity or original health of these ancient rainforests. Replanting small seedlings simply can’t replace an ecosystem that took 15,000 years to evolve.
Read more on the ecology of the Great Bear Rainforest

What is the role of BC's First Nations in the GBR?

The Great Bear Rainforest is the unceded traditional territory of First Nations, meaning that no agreements regarding the land have ever been signed with the Queen or any federal or provincial governments.
In April of 2001, eight First Nations of British Columbia's central and north coast signed an agreement on land use planning with the provincial government. Although this agreement clearly does not deal with the issues of rights and title, it does mean that the people who live on BC's coast will gain more control and derive more benefits from the forests.

How many parks have been created in the Great Bear Rainforest?

Despite agreements to protect large areas of the Great Bear Rainforest to date no new parks have been formally legislated.

Why are grizzly bear biologists concerned about the way in which the government of British Columbia is managing the species?

The blue-ribbon independent science team supported by all stakeholders in the Great Bear Rainforest recommended that 44-60% of the rainforest be protected at a minimum. This threshold was not met in current protected areas plans and many conservation biologists are concerned. Changing forest practices so that retention level are higher and high value watersheds are managed to low risk will be key to securing the future of the Great Bear Rainforest. In addition species-specific management plans must be in place. Recent scientific studies suggest that species such as the Grizzly Bear are being mismanaged in British Columbia.
Click here to download a report on how Grizzly Bear management needs to change (PDF)
Click here to see how logging practices need to change

Would offshore oil drilling on BC’s coast threaten the Great Bear Rainforest?

Oil exploration and drilling has been banned off the coast of British Columbia for over 30 years in order to protect the shores of the Great Bear Rainforest and the north Pacific ecosystem from environmental devastation. Now both the federal and provincial governments are reconsidering their moratoriums on fossil fuel extraction off the coast. The links between the marine ecosystem and the Great Bear Rainforest are numerous. One key example is the importance of salmon and the protein and nutrients they bring to the forest and wildlife when they return to spawn. Greenpeace is working to ensure that this fragile ecosystem is not destroyed by working to ensure a permanent federal government ban on exploration and drilling in this fragile, earthquake prone region
More information on offshore oil and gas development from the Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaign
More information on the importance of salmon to the coastal rainforest click here (Report, PDF)

Where can I get more information?

Greenpeace is working with a number of like-minded organizations to ensure the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest while minimizing the impact of the people who depend on the forest for their livelihood. The Rainforest Solutions Project is a joint initiative of ForestEthics, Greenpeace Canada, the Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter, and the Rainforest Action Network.
The Rainforest Solutions Project website (www.savethegreatbear.org)

With 33% of the rainforest protected from the chainsaw and Ecosystem Based Management planned for the other two thirds of the rainforest, is Greenpeace's work done?

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement announced in February 2006 represents the strongest step forward yet for securing the future of the rainforest although it is currently limited to agreements on paper.  The agreement is significant because it is signed by First Nations, the provincial government and endorsed by all stakeholders.  It represents the largest rainforest protection package in Canadian history.  However, the agreements commit to implementing these monumental changes over the next three years so while 33% of the rainforest is protected from logging, the overall health of the rainforest has not been secured. 

There is a seat for Greenpeace at the newly forming EBM Working Group that is responsible for guiding the implementation of Ecosystem Based Management and ensuring that it is based on the best available science.  The next step is for the provincial government to legislate the first phase of new logging practices called Ecosystem Based Management, which they have committed to do by October 2006.  At this point, the logging industry has not yet created a plan for how they will implement the agreement and in some cases it continues to be ‘business as usual’ logging.

It is vitally important that Greenpeace remain active in pressuring the logging industry and the government to make good on their promises.  The true measure of success is on-the-ground change and healthy ecosystems in perpetuity. 

Topics