After a lengthy run of negotiations, a deal has been hammered out to protect Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest for decades to come. CBC reports that an agreement was reached this week to defend 85 percent of old-growth forested area from commercial logging operations. The Great Bear Rainforest — which is located on the coast of British Columbia — will have that area (an over three million hectare chunklet) permanently protected against the practice. The remaining 15 percent will be available for logging, but there are rules attached. Loggers will be required to follow sustainability guidelines that are considered far more demanding than your average North American operation.
The pact wasn’t an overnight decision, mind you. The province has had a complicated and somewhat tense history in determining what is and isn’t appropriate in regard to logging practices in British Columbia. After more than a decade of talks, a deal was struck between the government, First Nations, and the logging companies. It’s a pact that is being hailed as groundbreaking.
Environmental organizations like Greenpeace have enthusiastically applauded this development. In a statement on Greenpeace’s website, the green-minded group spread some of the credit around for the rainforest protection plan, but also expressed thanks to the area’s First Nations.
Today is a day to celebrate and be grateful for what has been accomplished in the Great Bear Rainforest. Our gratitude especially goes to the twenty plus First Nations who have shown leadership in planning for greater conservation for their traditional territories, taking a leap of faith that stewardship, ecology and good economic development can work hand in hand.
The Great Bear Rainforest ranks as one of the world’s largest remaining tracts of temperate rainforest with animals like the rare spirit bear inhabiting the region.
(via The Huffington Post)