Rainforest Solutions Project

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

About Our Work

Climate Change

The implementation phase of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements was accompanied by new information about the threats of global warming and the urgency to mitigate and adapt to climate change. All parties involved are becoming increasingly aware of the implications of climate change in the context of the ongoing implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements.

The global average temperature has increased 0.6 °C in the last 100 years, with higher increases than average across British Columbia, particularly in the north of the province. Recent monitoring of key indicators – such as the polar icecaps – show changes are already occurring much faster than originally predicted, making immediate and dramatic actions imperative. Climate change combined with habitat loss due to industrial activity and other pressures is expected to have significant impacts for a wide number of species and ecosystems in BC. Scientists warn that without immediate significant action the implications will be immense.

The reality of climate change could mean that our understanding of what constitutes ecological precaution today may be insufficient to maintain fully functioning complex ecosystems tomorrow. Successful implementation of EBM must include ongoing monitoring, adaptive management, collaborative planning and transparent decision-making in order to provide the flexibility to respond to changing conditions.

Coastal temperate rainforests in British Columbia contain some of the largest stores of carbon per hectare of forests anywhere in the world. Full implementation of EBM would help maintain additional old growth forest that stores at least 108 million tons of carbon. This form of lighter touch logging would result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to three times the annual fossil fuel emissions in the province.

The full implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements could also provide a model to address mitigation (reducing emissions from forests) and adaptation (allowing species space to adapt to global warming). Achieving management to low ecological risk by 2014 will be key to reducing the cumulative stress for ecosystems and protect one of the best carbon storehouses in Canada. Broad support for achieving this goal will greatly depend on access to new incentives for reduced logging like conservation carbon credits as a measure that contributes to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

For additional information, read the report:
Defense for Climate and Species