Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


BC Commits to Legislate Protection of 2 Million Hectares of Great Bear Rainforest

February 7, 2006

(Vancouver, BC) – A coalition of three leading environmental groups today, along with industry leaders and indigenous groups, celebrated success after a decade long campaign to protect the globally unique Great Bear Rainforest. Today’s long awaited government announcement protects one third of the Great Bear Rainforest from all logging and will require the use of more sustainable logging practices for the remaining area.

The total area protected from logging equals 2 million hectares, an area close to four times the size of Prince Edward Island. This total includes new and previous protection areas and special no logging zones.

“Today, British Columbians are showing that it is possible to protect the environment and provide the economic foundation for healthy communities,” said Lisa Matthaus, Coast Campaign Coordinator for the Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter. “This innovative rainforest agreement provides a real world example of how people and wilderness can prosper together.”

ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter have worked toward this solution for almost a decade, using tactics that ranged from blockades to boycotts to boardroom negotiations, all in a bid to protect as much of the Great Bear Rainforest as possible.
“For more than a decade, all eyes have been on Canada’s rainforest,” said Amanda Carr, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. “If today’s promises become reality, we’ll have a global model of sustainability, exactly what international customers of BC’s wood tell us they want.”

This agreement represents hundreds of thousands of hours of dirt-under-the-fingernails work by one of the most unexpected alliances in Canadian history. It included a blue-ribbon science panel supported by governments, environmental groups and logging companies that developed specific recommendations to change logging practices.

“This agreement represents a revolution in the way we approach B.C.’s rainforests – it’s no longer just about logging, but about conservation, new economic ventures and community involvement,” said Merran Smith, Director BC Coastal Programs, ForestEthics. “But, we’ll be watching to ensure that today’s announcement results in real change on the ground. This is just the beginning.”

To date, almost half of a $120 million investment package has been raised by philanthropic donors for conservation and sustainable business ventures in First Nation territories. The BC government has committed $30 million to First Nations for economic development. We are hopeful that the federal government will join in this initiative.

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement means:
  • 2 million hectares is protected from logging;
  • The application of better, lighter touch forestry by March 2009
  • Comprehensive First Nations involvement in management over their entire traditional territory
  • The diversification of the economy based on conservation

Read the Factsheet: Great Bear Rainforest Backgrounder