The Great Bear Rainforest covers 15 million acres of some of the oldest and largest trees in North America. The high rainfall prevents forest firs and allows cedar trees over a thousand years old to thrive. It is home to 20 per cent of the world’s wild salmon, as well as gos-hawks, coastal wolves, Sitka blacktail deer, mountain goats and a large population of bears, including the legendary Spirit Bear ñ a black bear with a genetic anomaly which makes its fur white.
After a decade of passionate campaigning by many environmental groups, industry leaders and indigenous peoples, five million acres of the Rainforest has been saved from the chainsaw. One third of British Colombian rainforest is now protected from deforestation and the remaining two thirds will now benefit from more sustainable logging practices. ‘Today British Columbia has proved that it is possible to balance economic interests, environmental protection and the hopes and dreams of communities,’ said Merran Smith, the Director of Forest Ethics. ‘This rain-forest agreement provides a real world example of how people and wilderness can prosper together. And this is just the beginning.’
Sustainable logging laws will make the timber good wood’ñ timber with increased value due to the ethical way it is grown. ‘If today’s promises become reality, we’ll have a global model of sustainability.’ said Amanda Carr, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace.
In the same year that saw Grizzly Bears removed from the endangered species list, this agreement signals a breakthrough in North American conservation and demonstrates how a mutually beneficial relationship can be achieved between man and nature.
Contact: Rainforest Action Network, 221 Pine St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94104, USA. Tel: 415 398 4404 Website: www.ran.org