Historic deal to protect Canada rainforest from logging
British Columbia reached an historic agreement (Feb 8) to protect a massive strip of rainforest along its coastline — the deal combines the interests of First Nations, the logging industry and environmentalists after a decade of negotiations.
The agreement will see roughly 85% of forest within the Great Bear Rainforest protected, with the other 15 percent available for logging under the “most stringent” standards in North America.
The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests and the habitat of the Spirit Bear, a rare subspecies of the black bear with white fur and claws. It is also home to 26 Aboriginal groups, known as First Nations.
“Under this landmark agreement, more old and second growth forest will be protected, while still ensuring opportunities for economic development and jobs for local First Nations,” said Premier Christy Clark in a statement.
The province will introduce new laws to support the measures later this year.
The deal will also see the end of the commercial grizzly bear hunt within Coastal First Nations territories, though other existing tourism-related businesses will not be impacted.
“This full implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest agreements is one of the most visionary forest conservation plans on earth,” said Valerie Langer, ForestEthics Solutions Director, in a statement.
“It is a principled approach that sets a new legal and science-based standard for sustaining healthy forests.”
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