Rainforest Solutions Project

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

The Grove: Campaign Blog & Newsroom

If the Great Bear Rainforest is already protected, why this campaign?

posted by: Administrator, February 7, 2012 at 3am

By Valerie Langer (ForestEthics), Eduardo Sousa (Greenpeace) and Jens Wieting (Sierra Club BC)

Six years ago, our environmental organizations and logging companies worked with the B.C. government and First Nations to create a groundbreaking agreement to save the Great Bear Rainforest. Reached after years of protests and market campaigns aimed at protecting this region from industrial logging, the agreement made headlines around the world for being remarkable in many ways.

The agreement protected more than two million hectares of one of the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate rainforests from logging. It set in place rules for lighter-touch logging outside of protected areas. It helped seed the beginnings of a new conservation-based economy in the region. And it gave First Nations communities increased decision-making powers over their traditional territory.

Watch this recent Al Jazeera feature piece on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements and the incredible ecosystems they’re meant to protect.

In March 2009, all parties committed to new milestones to increase conservation and improve human well-being in coastal communities. Today, some of these milestones are seriously delayed – including mapping of critical rainforest and species habitat that should be off-limits to logging. The science is also clear that at least 70 per cent of the natural level of old-growth forest must be protected from logging to keep it at low ecological risk. This is 20 per cent more than the half that is currently protected.

The longer we wait to protect enough of the forest to keep it alive, the less likely it is we’ll be able to save the Great Bear Rainforest as we know it. That’s why we’re asking British Columbians to call on the provincial government to Take It Taller and speed up the implementation of the Great Bear Agreements. Premier Christy Clark has an opportunity to protect something of value to British Columbians, and in fact the entire world.

Read more about where the Great Bear Agreements stand today and what we want decision-makers to do about it.