Protecting the Great Bear Rainforest
Like the white Spirit Bears roaming amidst its thousand-year old trees, the Great Bear Rainforest is a marvel. Not just of nature, but of hard work and collaboration to create a conservation agreement that allows environmental values and economic needs to work with each other, rather than against each other.
It is an ancient forest in which local First Nations communities have the chance for a prosperous and sustainable future, and countless species have a chance to remain and thrive.
For more than a decade Canopy has worked closely with our allies to secure protection in the Great Bear Rainforest. Our many partnerships with forest industry customers played an important role in helping to secure this iconic place.
We have engaged many of our publishing and print partners to encourage the BC government, as well as pulp and paper producers in the region to reach the GBR Agreement, and in more recent years, to live up to its commitments.
As part of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement:
- 2.1 million hectares of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest is formally protected
- $120 million in financing is already flowing into local and First Nations communities to kick-start conservation economies in the region
- Regulations are set for ecosystem-based management (or 'lighter touch logging') - these regulations put an additional 700,000 hectares of high value forests off limits to logging
- Forest companies operating in the Great Bear Rainforest secured Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for nearly 1 million hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest. FSC is the only forest certification system currently addressing First Nations rights and title and endorsed by environmental organizations.
Getting to 70%
Six years after it was signed, the hard work of implementing the Agreement is ongoing.
Canopy supports all involved – the Government of British Columbia, First Nations, forest companies, and environmental organizations on the collaborative work to achieve low ecological risk and increase wellbeing in local communities.
We continue to work closely with our allies to ensure the Agreement is implemented, and we look forward to 70% protection of old growth as the Agreement becomes a reality on the ground.
Vancouver Island’s Coastal Temperate Rainforests
The towering rainforests of Vancouver Island extend south of the Great Bear Rainforest, but their future remains uncertain. These forests are examples of the extremely rare temperate rainforest that covers less than 1% of the earth’s surface.
Sadly, only one large intact temperate rainforest remains on the Island, the iconic Clayoquot Sound.
It is the site of the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history, several transfers of harvest licenses, and a 12-year agreement between environmentalists and First Nations.
This unique region of pristine coastal forest includes several critical valleys of old growth. But it remains threatened. The very future of this famous rainforest is uncertain.
Vancouver Island has already lost more than three-quarters of its productive ancient forests to logging. Only 10% of the remaining high-productivity forests are in protected and Old Growth Management areas.
These remaining pockets of old growth forest contain important species habitat, and play a critical role in stabilizing the earth’s climate through carbon storage.
That is why we are working on long-term solutions to ensure the protection of these endangered forest landscapes.
All photos: Andrew Wright