Rainforest Solutions Project

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

About Our Work

A Global Treasure

Canada is home to the Great Bear Rainforest – the largest coastal temperate rainforest on the planet. The Great Bear Rainforest stretches along British Columbia’s coast north of Vancouver Island, and is the traditional territory of First Nations who have lived in this ecosystem for thousands of years. A spectacular forest ecosystem with many intact valleys, the Great Bear Rainforest is known as ‘Canada’s Amazon’ for its dense web of natural life including towering ancient trees, grizzly bears, salmon, wolves, and the rare white kermode, or ‘spirit’ bear. Today, less than 25% of this forest type exists worldwide, and this narrow band of land and sea 6.4 million hectares in size represents a quarter of all coastal temperate rainforest remaining on the planet.

In February 2006, after years of protest, market campaigns, land use planning, and negotiations, an historic agreement was reached between environmental organizations, logging companies, First Nations communities and the British Columbia Government. The 2006 agreements had four components with key milestones:

  • legislation of more than 2 million hectares protected from logging
  • new lighter touch logging regulations applied outside of protected areas
  • support for conservation-based economies in coastal communities
  • strengthened First Nations involvement in decisions affecting their traditional territory

On March 31, 2009 environmental groups along with the B.C. government, industry and First Nations announced the implementation of these key milestones, along with an agreement on a five-year plan to achieve the concurrent goals of low ecological risk and high quality of life in communities by 2014. Key components of the five-year plan include:

  • development of a reserve network outside of the protected areas
  • logging regulations to be revised upwards to maintain 70% of natural levels of old growth over time
  • further support for transition from an economy based on industrial resource-extraction to a diversified conservation economy
  • ongoing science-based collaborative planning

The five year plan launched in March 2009 calls for a continued collaborative focus by environmental groups, the BC Government, the forest industry, and First Nations. Only in this way can the overarching and interconnected goals of low ecological risk and high quality of life in communities be achieved.