Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Great Bear Rainforest Agreements Stalled

September 22, 2006

(Vancouver, BC) – Greenpeace, ForestEthics and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter, add their voices to the growing concern regarding the Spirit Bear’s habitat and the future of the Great Bear Rainforest. In February 2006, the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement was announced to the world by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell. The agreement had two cornerstones: a protected areas package and a commitment to bold new logging practices, known as Ecosystem-based Management.

“We stood on the stage and announced to the world a new conservation approach for the Great Bear Rainforest,” stated Merran Smith, Director, BC Coastal Program, ForestEthics.

“These agreements are now at risk because a cornerstone of the agreement, Ecosystem-based Management, is faltering. We are tired of big talk with no action.” “Collaborative, credible science got us all to the Agreement in February and is still what is needed to secure the future of the Great Bear Rainforest,” said Lisa Matthaus, Coast Campaign Coordinator for the Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter.

“We agreed to a scientific oversight group for implementation. Without this up and running, logging decisions are being made on a piecemeal basis.” “We have a global model for the Great Bear Rainforest; now it is time for change on the ground,” said Amanda Carr, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. “Today, logging threatens the future of ecologically important areas creating uncertainty in the Great Bear Rainforest – it is time to get down to work and act on our agreements.”

A new system of logging, to be phased in between now and 2009, was agreed to by the logging industry, environmental organizations, communities, labour unions, First Nations and the B.C. government. These lighter touch practices would see more areas off limits to logging to protect old growth, wildlife habitat, sensitive watersheds and salmon streams.

Stalled commitments of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement:

  • The first phase of legal objectives for new logging practices will not be in place by Sept 30
  • Some forest companies still have not begun EBM practices, agreed to in December 2003
  • The scientific oversight group for the agreements, the EBM working group, has not yet been formed or adequately funded, and

Sierra Club of Canada-BC Chapter, Greenpeace and ForestEthics call on the B.C. government and First Nations to take immediate action to make the commitments of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements real on the ground.