Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Great Bear Rainforest to be saved as ‘global treasure’

March 30, 2009

(Vancouver, BC) – The B.C. government is expected to announce a new approach to resource development on B.C.‘s central and north coast Tuesday, finally ending the eco-wars over the region’s old-growth forests.

New laws protecting eco-systems in what is termed the Great Bear Rainforest are now in place that will change how the region — an area the size of Ireland — is managed, said Patrick Armstrong, a spokesman for five forest companies operating in the region.

“This is an important milestone in securing a global treasure for future generations,” Armstrong said Monday. “Management will be different. There’s an awful lot more certainty than what it was 10 years ago when we were at hammer-and-tongs with everybody around the world.”

Valerie Langer, of ForestEthics, one of three major environmental groups that fought for more than a decade to change logging in the region, said Tuesday’s announcement meets the promises made by the government in 2006 to re-shape the way the land is used.

Key elements of the provincial commitment now in place include:

  • One-third of the region, 2.1 million hectares, is protected.
  • Eco-system-based management, a system that balances ecological values with resource use and community needs, will be in practice.
  • A $120-million economic fund, half of which was raised by eco-groups, has been established to ease the transition to new practices.
  • First Nations will be involved in governance along with Victoria.

The timber harvest is expected to drop by about 20 per cent as a result.

Langer said bringing in full eco-system-based management practices have resulted in more land being conserved. The original goal was two million hectares, 100,000 hectares below what has been set aside.

Langer and Armstrong have key players for both sides in over 20 years of bitter battles over logging.

“I first met Valerie Langer in 1988 in Clayoquot Sound. She was chained to a tree in Sulphur Pass,” Armstrong said.