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We have to protect all of the world’s rainforests, not just tropical rainforests

By Alys Granados

May 2017

Most of us have heard about how rainforests are in trouble and the rapid rate at which we are losing these spectacular ecosystems, along with the incredible diversity of species that depend on them. Globally, most of these reports focus on tropical rainforests and there has been too little awareness about the fate of temperate rainforests. Close to home, very few know that the remaining old-growth forest on Vancouver Island is disappearing faster than natural tropical rainforests.

Few of us have the opportunity to visit tropical forests in person, which can make us feel disconnected from the problems of deforestation and degradation of tropical countries. I am extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work in tropical rainforests over the past seven years, as part of my graduate work in wildlife ecology. Most of this has been in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo where I investigated how selective logging disrupts interactions between trees and mammals.

Central Walbran Valley. Photo: TJ Watt.

The loss of intact tropical forests continues to be a serious threat. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently estimated that globally, ten per cent of the remaining primary forests in tropical rainforest countries were lost between 1990 and 2015. These forests are home to many species which exist nowhere else on the planet and protecting their habitats is critical to their survival. Further, the livelihood of millions of people depends on intact forests and they play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change by storing massive amounts of carbon.

While all of this may be well known to many, few of us in Canada realize just how fast old-growth rainforest is being logged on Vancouver Island. I was very shocked to learn from recent Sierra Club BC data that over that same period (1990 to 2015), thirty per cent of the remaining old-growth forest on Vancouver Island was logged. In other words, the rate of loss of so-called “primary forests” (forests that were largely undisturbed by human activity) on Vancouver Island is actually three times greater than in the tropics.  In the last few years the rate of old-growth logging on the Island has actually increased by twelve per cent to 9,000 hectares per year (25 hectares a day).

So what’s behind this forest loss? Similar to the tropics, logging plays a central role. One difference is that in many tropical countries logging often results in deforestation, while in other countries such as Canada logging generally leads to the replacement of rich ancient forests with even-aged young forest. Much of the old-growth forest on Vancouver Island has already been lost to clearcut logging and the remaining patches of old-growth (called variable retention by foresters) are too small to maintain enough habitat for species that depend on old-growth forest.

Logging in East Creek on Vancouver Island. Photo: Mark Worthing.

In response to the Sierra Club BC data, the BC government stated that it is misleading to compare the problem in tropical countries to Vancouver Island, because in British Columbia logging companies are required by law to reforest logged areas. While this is true, old-growth ecosystems with trees that are many hundreds of years of age are not growing back at a meaningful timescale and climate change means we will never see the same type of forest grow back in the first place.

Species that rely on old-growth forest such as the marbled murrelet are negatively affected by the loss of old forest stands. In addition, the resulting large areas of young trees are not offering the type of habitat that most of the typical plants and animals on Vancouver Island depend on.

Similar to tropical forests, coastal temperate forests play an important role storing carbon dioxide. In fact a single hectare of temperate rainforest can store up to 1000 tonnes of carbon, a much greater amount than most tropical rainforests. Even if replanting is carried out, along the coast it can take centuries for reforested areas to reach a similar capacity in carbon storage potential as that of intact old-growth forest stands.

Tropical forest loss rightfully deserves the attention it gets, and we are lucky here in BC to have equally amazing rainforest habitat. Given that we are living in a relatively rich part of the world compared to many tropical countries, it is remarkable that we are failing to do a better job of protecting the remaining rare and endangered ancient forests on Vancouver Island and inspire other parts of the world. Coastal temperate rainforests exist only in very small areas on the planet and very little intact areas are left. Solutions exist, for example, in the Great Bear Rainforest north of Vancouver Island. Increasing the area of forest protected and halting destructive logging practices are both vital to ensuring the continued survival of these ecosystems and for a diverse economy. They should be a primary concern to us all.

Alys Granados

Alys Granados is a PhD student in zoology at UBC. She is working as an Intern for Sierra Club BC under UBC’s Biodiversity Research: Integrative Training & Education (BRITE) program. For her PhD, Alys is studying the effects of selective logging on plants and mammals in Malaysian Borneo. Previously, Alys completed a Masters at Concordia University in QC, where she studied park-people interactions in relation to human-elephant conflict in Cameroon. As an intern with Sierra Club, Alys will help with efforts to increase awareness about threats facing old growth forests on Vancouver Island. 

 

Feature image by Andrew S. Wright

Farewell, and not goodbye: Bob Peart

By Executive Director Bob Peart

March 31, 2017

When I was hired by Sierra Club BC 3.5 years ago, I was excited to work with a key environmental group at such a critical time. Sierra Club BC was rightly seen as a leader in the movement – from our respectful approach to advocacy and our belief in science to our award winning environmental education programs and the vital role we play in the energy, forest and climate conversation. I was not disappointed. And we have delivered – from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements and protecting big old trees to speaking out to keep tankers off the coast; and from putting the outrageous Site C dam proposal on the public radar to getting thousands of school-aged children back outside.

As many of you know, by the time you read this note I will no longer be Executive Director. My route to Sierra Club BC was through a 40-year role as an advocate for nature, combined with a deep passion for experiencing firsthand the smells and sounds of the wildlife and plants that surround us. Post-Sierra Club BC, my journey will continue.  I will remain involved in the conservation movement as long as I am able – putting my energy toward defending nature, moving off a carbon-based economy and reminding people that their health is directly linked to a healthy environment.

I am often asked: where do I get my optimism and why, given the degradation to the planet we see every day, do you keep working so hard to protect it? My answer is that I get my hope and optimism from people like you – our donors and supporters who believe in the good work we do. And like me, you refuse to give up and you continue to demand that the communities where we live are healthy, and provide a lifestyle that is truly sustainable and leaves no one behind.

I thank you for your confidence in Sierra Club BC, and please continue to support the good work we do through your donations.


Bob Peart

East Creek investigation finds clearcutting rare intact old-growth on Vancouver Island in compliance with laws, highlighting B.C. government failure to protect endangered rainforest

Investigation also finds company in non-compliance with making information public

March 30, 2017

The BC government’s Forest Practices Board (FPB) released its findings today regarding Sierra Club BC’s May 2016 complaint about Lemare Lake Logging Ltd. logging practices in the East Creek area. East Creek is located adjacent to the Mquqᵂin – Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park, in Kwakwaka’wakw territory and forms part of the largest remaining contiguous ancient rainforest on northern Vancouver Island.

East Creek logging. Photo by TJ Watt.

Sierra Club BC visited East Creek in the fall of 2015 and documented the devastation of ancient rainforest, including the use of blasting charges, in an area known as important habitat for salmon, marbled murrelet and northern goshawk and important First Nations cultural values, leading to the complaint and investigation.

“The scope and scale of the ancient rainforest destruction in this incredible watershed is unimaginable. They were logging more than one Cathedral Grove in the last two years alone,” said Mark Worthing, Sierra Club BC’s Forests & Biodiversity Campaigner. “The liquidation of East Creek’s ancient rainforest is being permitted for government revenue in form of stumpage fees between $0.33 and $1.33 per cubic meter. This is a terribly short-sighted decision.”

The FPB investigation considered two questions: whether the licensee complied with the Forest Range Practices Act (FRPA) and the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan (VILUP) and whether the licensee provided the complainant with reasonable access to site plans (SPs). The Board concluded that the licensee complied with FRPA and VILUP while conducting its operations. On the second question, the Board concluded that the licensee did not provide the complainant with reasonable access to SPs “on request at any reasonable time” as required by FRPA.

Old-growth tree being exploded at Lemare Lake operations.

“British Columbians have the right to know what’s happening in the forests around us, yet it took us six months to access the information the public is legally entitled to. This makes it impossible for the public to document ecological and cultural values that could be at risk as a result of proposed logging. We’ll be waiting to see what action the government takes to respond to this violation of FRPA,” said Worthing.

Sierra Club BC is very concerned but not surprised about the conclusion of the FPB that East Creek logging is in compliance with FRPA and VILUP. “The East Creek investigation confirms what we feared: while blasting roads and clearcutting approximately 1,000 hectares of the last intact old-growth rainforest on Northern Vancouver Island in the last 10 years is inconsistent with good forest management practices, it is consistent with BC’s Forest Range Practices Act and the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan,” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s Forest and Climate Campaigner. “Provincial laws and the Vancouver Island land use plan are failing to protect forest integrity and we urgently need additional protection and improved forest management to safeguard the web of life as we know it.”

East Creek is located in the Klaskish landscape unit – the area in light green north of the Protected Brooks Peninsula. It is the only unprotected landscape unit with close to 70 percent remaining productive old-growth rainforest on Northern Vancouver Island.

There is growing support for protecting the remaining endangered old-growth rainforest and shifting to sustainable second-growth forestry on Vancouver Island, including from municipalities, chambers of commerce and a number of First Nations and unions. Sierra Club BC warned in 2016 that a 12 percent increase in the annual old-growth logging rate on the island (recently at 9,000 hectares per year) will lead to an ecological and economic collapse.

The most productive types of rainforest ecosystems, with the biggest trees, unique habitat and tourism values are now in their single digits of remaining old-growth. At the same time second-growth forests are being clearcut at a young age, often at less than 60 or 80 years, allowing no recovery of old-growth characteristics across vast areas on Vancouver Island.

“The East Creek investigation shows everything that is wrong with rainforest conservation and management on Vancouver Island – BC’s forestry regulation has no consideration of how little intact rainforest is left on the island and there is no legal impediment to logging the last old-growth trees outside of protected areas.” said Wieting.

The East Creek investigation makes clear that we have no regulatory framework to protect the last of the last remaining intact coastal temperate rainforest,” said Wieting. “Whoever forms the next government has their work cut out to prevent the unfolding ecological and economic catastrophe on the island. We need a moratorium to safeguard biodiversity hotspots as new protected areas and new conservation tools to set aside critical endangered rainforest stands and habitat aside across the landscape.”

A 2015 Sierra Club BC mapping analysis showed East Creek on the northern island and the Walbran on the southern island as the only two remaining largely intact unprotected landscapes, with a percentage of productive old-growth rainforest close to the threshold indicating low ecological risk (70%). These remaining intact areas are critical ecological stepstones between the Great Bear Rainforest, Clayoquot Sound and Pacific Rim National Park.

Solutions for healthy forests and healthy communities similar to those developed in the Great Bear Rainforest are needed along the entire B.C. coast, not just one part of it. East Creek and the Central Walbran are among the most important examples of intact, unprotected, productive coastal old-growth on Vancouver Island that need immediate action or will be lost forever.

Sierra Club BC supports sustainable, second growth harvesting and local, value-added processing that creates a higher number of jobs per cubic metre, such that we can sustain healthy forest-based communities and local forestry jobs into the future.

Further information on Lemare Lake’s East Creek logging operations:

Covert logging of old-growth on Vancouver Island must be stopped

Timeline of Sierra Club BC attempts to view Lemare Lake Logging’s site plans for its East Creek operations

Richard Boyce short film in East Creek

It’s time for the BC government to curb raw log exports and boost value-added forestry jobs

February 27

Between 2013 and 2016, more raw logs were shipped from BC than during any other four-year period in the province’s history, prompting two forest industry unions and three leading environmental groups to call for a ban on raw log exports from old-growth forests and bold government action to stimulate BC’s flagging forest sector.

Raw log exports. Photo by TJ Watt.

The call follows new research released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC Office (CCPA-BC) that shows how exports of raw, unprocessed logs are surging. If these logs were processed in some of BC’s hardest hit forestry communities, at least 3,600 new jobs could be generated.

Last year, BC forest companies exported enough raw logs to frame nearly 134,000 homes, which equals roughly half of  Vancouver’s standing single-family homes. Instead of creating thousands of good-paying jobs in rural communities, logs are exported in raw form.

The Public and Private Workers of Canada along with UNIFOR (Canada’s largest private sector union), the Ancient Forest Alliance, Sierra Club BC and the Wilderness Committee say the Province should enact a bold three-point plan to curb exports and stimulate jobs:

  1. Place an immediate ban on all exports of raw logs from old-growth forests.
  2. Immediately impose progressively higher taxes on log exports from second-growth forests to encourage investment in domestic mills.
  3. Introduce new policies to increase value-added forest manufacturing and jobs in rural and First Nations communities.

Four years of log export data analyzed by the CCPA-BC uncovered a number of disturbing trends in log exports from BC:

  • Between 2013 and 2016, nearly 26 million cubic meters of raw logs, with a combined sales value of more than $3 billion, were shipped from BC – more than any other four-year period since record keeping began.
  • More than one in three logs exported in the past five years came from BC’s centuries-old coastal old-growth rainforests
  • Most log exports in the past five years came from public lands under direct provincial control, not from private lands where the BC government has no jurisdiction, which is a sharp reversal from previous norms.

Vancouver Island rainforest. Photo by Charly Caproff.

Sierra Club BC is working toward solutions for healthy rainforests and healthy communities and worked with the BC government, First Nations and stakeholders on implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. Regional models like the Ecosystem-Based Management framework in the Great Bear Rainforest must be complemented with coherent province-wide conservation, climate and economic policies to ensure forestry can contribute jobs as part of a diverse, low carbon economy. For more information, please read our ten-point plan for transition toward this vision in our report, The Future is Here.

Please donate today to support our work protecting BC’s ancient and endangered old-growth forests.

Feature image by TJ Watt.

 

Victory: We stopped Enbridge for good!

By Caitlyn Vernon

November 30, 2016

Thanks to you and so many more like you all over the province, we did it!

After years of tireless, selfless struggle—organizing, marching, petitioning, writing submissions and speaking at NEB hearings, getting spied on by our own government’s security apparatus, raising funds for First Nations legal challenges, you name it—we finally got what we were so passionately demanding: the end of Enbridge.

This particular fight is finally over. For good. The Northern Gateway pipeline will not get built. Supertankers filled with diluted bitumen won’t sail through the Douglas Channel and threaten the jewel that is the Great Bear Rainforest. The risk of ecological and economic catastrophe that Enbridge posed has been avoided and we can all take a deep breath of relief. (Prime Minister Trudeau intends to legislate a tanker ban for the north coast. We will work to ensure the legislation is as strong as possible, so that we don’t have to fight any similar tanker proposals in the future.)

Our salmon—and the northern economy that depends on them—are now safer, as are the spirit bears, the humpback whales and all the delicate ecosystems of the north coast.

This, my friends, is a legendary achievement. Take time to celebrate, to savour the taste of victory. Don’t let the government’s reckless, irresponsible approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the Petronas fracked gas plant undermine this victory – tomorrow we will work to stop Kinder Morgan and Petronas, today we celebrate!

To every one of Sierra Club BC’s incredible supporters: thank you. To every one of you who contributed to Pull Together: thank you. To the communities along the pipeline and tanker route who led the way for so many years: thank you. To every one of our friends and allies: thank you.
And most especially, to every one of the First Nations who stood resolute and strong in the face of the wealth and might of corporate and government power: thank you.

In particular, I want to name the Heiltsuk, Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Haida, Kitasoo-Xai’xais, Nadleh Whut’en, and Nak’azdli Nations, whose court cases overturned the federal approval of Enbridge and whose precedent will push governments in the right direction for years to come.

It was a privilege to witness their courage and determination and to support them (along with RAVEN Trust) through the Pull Together initiative, which raised more than $600,000 for legal costs. Theirs was true leadership and their example has shown us a path to victory in the coming fight to stop Kinder Morgan.

I believe that when historians look back at the death of the Enbridge pipeline, they will come to see it as the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era in British Columbia.

There’s still much work to be done. Clearly, we have a federal government that doesn’t understand you can’t be a climate leader and build pipelines. Clearly, our provincial government, with its obsession with liquefied fracked gas, still doesn’t get it.

But this was a landmark moment, make no mistake.

History is on our side. The end of fossil fuels is inevitable. The only question is when we are not just celebrating the end of a pipeline, but the end of an era.

The Enbridge victory, above all, gives me hope. It shows the power of everyday people. It shows what we can achieve when we come together. It shows the path to the kind of future we all want: one powered by truly clean, renewable energy; one that respects nature and lives within her limits; one that respects indigenous governance; and one that makes sure no one is left behind by a post-carbon world.

Take some time to celebrate! Just look what we can do, when we stand together. I am filled with hope for what we will do next. We stopped one pipeline, we can stop another one.

Sierra Club BC statement on BC Opposition proposal to ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 25, 2016

Sierra Club BC’s campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon released the following statement in response to the provincial NDP’s pledge to implement a ban on the trophy hunting of grizzly bears:

“Sierra Club BC advocates an end to the trophy hunt of grizzly bears. We recognize and respect the ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears that First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest have already implemented in their territories.

“We commend the announcement from the BC Opposition that they will ban the trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Killing bears for sport is wasteful, opposed by a strong majority of British Columbians, and bad for our economy. These bears are worth more to our economy alive than dead.

“While their announcement will require a significant investment in monitoring and enforcement, in order to ensure trophy hunters don’t simply pretend to hunt for food, the announcement is an important step in the right direction and, if implemented, is good news for these majestic bears.”

For more information on the importance of a trophy hunting ban, visit BearsForever.ca.

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Contact:

Caitlyn Vernon

Director of Campaigns, Sierra Club BC

(250) 386 5255

Bella Bella Disaster a Reminder of the Need for a Strong Tanker Ban

The recent sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart tug near Bella Bella in the Great Bear Rainforest has underscored the urgency of a permanent, legislated oil tanker ban. Accidents happen and this disaster is a sobering reminder that oil spills are impossible to clean up.

Response crews took over 20 hours to arrive and the spill has still not been contained three weeks later. Beaches remain soaked with diesel and littered with debris. Clean-up efforts have been sluggish and greatly hampered by storms, which have caused containment booms to fail.

Members of the Heiltsuk Nation have consistently described the spill response as “totally inadequate.” Their nation’s waters have been polluted with hundreds of thousands of litres of diesel fuel. Their clam and seafood beds are closed indefinitely, costing them tens of thousands of dollars in the short-term as well as long-term damage to their economy. Video updates and ways to support can be found on the Heiltsuk Tribal Council’s Facebook page.

heiltsuk-bella-bella-spill_kyle-artelle_forweb

A contaminated beach leaches diesel back into the marine environment. Photo by Kyle Artelle.

Although many may see this as a relatively small spill, it has already and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on the Heiltsuk. Sierra Club BC and many other organizations stand in solidarity with the Heiltsuk Nation, who are now caught between a provincial and a federal government too busy blaming each other to make any concrete policy changes that could prevent another devastating spill.

This is a heartbreaking nightmare. Trudeau needs to wake up and take his election commitments for a tanker ban and for a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples seriously.

The Heiltsuk Nation are calling for an immediate implementation of a full and complete tanker ban. A strong tanker ban is the only sure way to protect B.C.’s coastal waters and wild salmon economy from a devastating oil spill. The federal government is about to make an announcement on a federal tanker moratorium, and we need to ensure it is strong, permanent, and legislated by Parliament.

That’s why we’ve set up an action centre where you can submit a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Garneau. Please send a message calling on them to implement a strong tanker ban on B.C.’s coast.

Coastal First Nations already have a ban on oil tankers, using their own laws. It’s about time we joined them to help put an end to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project. Please donate to help us continue this fight.

 

Cover image of diesel-soaked beach by Kyle Artelle.

B.C. Groups Win Prestigious Buckminster Fuller Design Award for Role in Safeguarding Great Bear Rainforest

Fuller Challenge Award 2016 goes to Rainforest Solutions Project, a project of Tides Canada Initiative with Greenpeace, Stand.earth and Sierra Club BC

October 5, 2016

Vancouver, BC – British Columbia’s Rainforest Solutions Project (a project of Tides Canada) with member groups Greenpeace, Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) and Sierra Club BC has won the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s (BFI) Fuller Challenge Award for their role in crafting and implementing solutions for the recently finalized Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. The BFI is a prestigious cross-disciplinary academy dedicated to solving global problems through design-thinking education. This $100,000 award specifically recognizes the innovation in complex process design that the three member organizations worked collectively and collaboratively to develop.

For over fifteen years the three groups worked together with the forest industry, First Nations governments and the Government of British Columbia to troubleshoot barriers and develop solutions for safeguarding the Great Bear Rainforest. The outcome is a new legal and policy framework that concurrently advances First Nations governance and economic aspirations over their territories, high levels of conservation, and logging activity which respects nature’s limits.

Eighty-five per cent (3.1 million hectares) of the region’s coastal temperate rainforests will be permanently off limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 per cent (550,000 hectares) will be subject to the most stringent legal standards for commercial logging operations in North America.

“Thank you to the Fuller Challenge for believing in our collective work to help safeguard this spectacular region, home to more than two dozen Indigenous communities who have stewarded their traditional lands since time immemorial. This award further validates our solutions model for large-scale forest conservation, uplifting Indigenous rights and fighting climate change,” says Greenpeace’s Eduardo Sousa. “ We’ve learned that breakthroughs are possible, but only through constructive dialogue and steadfast collaboration. We believe what has been achieved here in the Great Bear Rainforest can inspire other forest regions facing their own challenges.”

“Everywhere we look we see the environment, the economy and Indigenous people pitted against each other. It’s not a coincidence, it’s systemic. The model of management now operating in the Great Bear required prying open that system and then inventing what would replace it”, says Valerie Langer with Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics). “It took villages to do so and our unwavering dedication to see the change through multiple scales across multiple jurisdictions.”

The Fuller Challenge Selection Committee noted that by collaborating and innovating solutions with Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments and industry, the Rainforest Solutions Project member organizations demonstrated “the importance of large-scale and long-term comprehensive design thinking.”

“This award is a big motivator for us to build on the Great Bear Rainforest solutions. What has been accomplished offers us a compass to guide us toward solving similar conflicts elsewhere: science-based decision-making, aligning with nature’s limits, respecting Indigenous rights, and collaboration between governments and stakeholders. This is the approach we must pursue globally and with urgency, to save the life-support system of our planet, the web of life and our own species.” says Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC.

The Rainforest Solutions Project’s members Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and Stand.earth together with Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative, Nanwakolas Council, the Government of British Columbia, BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, International Forest Products and Western Forest Products, worked hard to move from conflict to a shared outcome rooted in 15 years of collaboration and negotiation. As of February 2016, the vision for conservation and community well-being committed to in 2006 is now underway with legal and policy agreements.

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Media Contacts:

Tim Pearson, 250.896.1556, tim@sierraclub.bc.ca

Eduardo Sousa, 778-378-9955, esousa@greenpeace.org

Valerie Langer, 604-307-6448, valerie@stand.earth

Read more about the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements

Feature image by Andrew S. Wright

Sierra Club BC wins prestigious award

Sierra Club BC is proud to announce that we have been awarded one of the most prestigious international environmental awards for our work on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements.

Great Bear Rainforest Agreement partners receive Sierra Club US’s 2016 EarthCare Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 9, 2016

First Nations governments, the B.C. government and a group of environmental organizations and forestry companies will tomorrow receive the 2016 EarthCare Award from Sierra Club US. With 2.4 million members, Sierra Club US is one of the largest environmental organizations in North America (and independent from Sierra Club BC and Sierra Club Canada).

The EarthCare award honours individuals or organizations that have made a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation.

The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the largest remaining relatively intact temperate rainforest areas of the world.   Fulfilment of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements was announced February 1, 2016 in Vancouver. Eighty-five percent of the remote wilderness region’s coastal temperate rainforests are now permanently off-limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 percent of the forest are subject to the most stringent commercial logging legal standards in North America. First Nations oversight of their lands has been strengthened and new community development opportunities negotiated as a result of the government-to-government implementation process.

“The loss of biodiversity and natural ecosystems is a global crisis, and the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements are offering us a precedent-setting conservation model the world can learn from,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “These Agreements show us how to achieve an economy that respects both indigenous rights and nature’s limits.”

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements protect biodiversity, help mitigate climate change, support improved community well-being, and provide a level of economic certainty to the forestry sector. The Agreements are considered a milestone for collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous governments, environmental organizations and forestry companies.

“The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure and now that it is set aside, it will be a landscape of hope where economic activity can occur without undermining the environment,” said Bob Peart, executive director of Sierra Club BC. “The Agreements provide an astonishing example of land use planning that balances many important values.”

After years of intense conflict, collaboration and negotiation, the new model of conservation management is informed by science, First Nations rights over their lands, and stakeholder input. The goal of this unique conservation approach is to maintain healthy forests and high levels of community well-being across the entire 6.4 million hectare Great Bear Rainforest, an area larger than Nova Scotia.

The Agreements were announced by indigenous alliances Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council and the province of British Columbia, with the support of three environmental groups—Sierra Club BC, Greenpeace and Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics)—and five companies as stakeholder groups (Interfor, Western Forest Products, BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper).

All parties involved are committed to Annual Monitoring reports and a five-year and ten-year review mechanism.

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For more information about the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements:
http://www.savethegreatbear.org/resources/category/updates

 

Contact:

Tim Pearson

Director of Communications, Sierra Club BC

250-896-1556

 

Image by Jens Wieting