Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Stage set for next steps

April 29, 2008

(Vancouver, BC) — Environmental organizations ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC today welcomed legislation introduced by the British Columbia government to establish 55 new conservancies in the Great Bear Rainforest. The new conservancies, together with 65 conservancies established in previous years, form a network of protected areas as part of the Central Coast and North Coast land-use decision announced in 2006. Two protected areas from the more recent Haida Gwaii agreement are also part of the legislation.

The conservancies are the backbone of this globally unique model of conservation, designed to protect the ecological integrity of the rainforest as a whole as well as First Nations’ cultural values. The boundaries of the new protected areas stay true to the commitments made by the province two years ago.

To ensure the conservancies maintain their ecological and cultural values, the province and First Nations will have to develop strong regionally consistent management plans that carry the spirit and intent of the new conservancy legislation forward. Recent statements by Environment Minister Penner and Agriculture and Lands Minister Bell indicate that no power projects connected to the grid or transmission lines will be allowed in the new conservancies.

With 11 months left to fully implement the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement by March 31, 2009, the province must focus on conservancy management planning, the enactment of biodiversity areas and establishing a regional plan for conservation outside of protected areas to ensure this deadline is met.