Overview of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements Implementation
February 9th, 2021
The CEO of Canada’s National newspaper, The Globe and Mail and Canopy are co-hosting a customer and investor roundtable to check in on progress with implementation of the world-renowned Great Bear Rainforest Agreements.
You are invited!
Great Bear Rainforest Customer and Investor Roundtable
Thursday, March 4th, 2021 7:30am PST / 9:30am CST /
10:30am EST / 3:30 pm GmT / 4:30 pm CET / 8:00 pm IST /
10:30 pm CST / 11:30 pm
Click here to register!
The Great Bear Rainforest is cherished internationally: It is one of the most showcased landscapes in the BBC Earth Series, and just last year Ryan Reynolds narrated a globally distributed IMAX movie about the region. And now this forest, teaming with salmon and thousand-year old cedar trees and home to the rarest bear on the earth, the elusive white Spirit Bear, needs 90 minutes of your time. Witness and learn about the challenges, and what lies ahead.
Please join Canopy in meeting the decision-makers and stakeholders who have forged unprecedented agreements to see the largest tract of coastal temperate rainforest in the world, the Great Bear Rainforest, conserved.
Our supply chains and procurement decisions send inadvertent signals every day that harvesting forests is of value and creates financial gain, even those forests that are increasingly rare and sometimes endangered. Join us in showing that global customers and investors are paying attention and are committed to support supply chains from forest regions where adequate conservation is in place.
What you will gain by attending:
- An understanding of what “supporting conservation solutions” in your procurement policy means and can achieve for the world’s most remarkable forests.
- A recognition of the positive impact corporate procurement policies of forest products have, and a remarkable story to share within your company about the constructive role the marketplace can have in shifting entrenched dialogue.
- Insights into carbon credits available in the region.
- A connection to one of the most remarkable places on earth and to the First Nations leaders and environmentalists working to conserve it every day.
- An opportunity to build shared accountability and to illustrate support to all involved and to encourage follow through on the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Agreements.
The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements are held up as a model for co-governance, economic diversification and a new forest management system that prioritizes protection of cultural and ecological values.
January 27, 2021 marked the five-year anniversary of the landmark 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. Five years ago, First Nations’ governments and the Province of British Columbia, supported by logging companies and environmental groups, signed a landmark agreement to finalize protection of the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate rainforest, under a system of ecosystem-based management.
For transparency and accountability, governments committed to a five-year Implementation Review which could result in important changes that ensure the long term success of the Agreements.
Of particular concern in light of the global climate and biodiversity crises, is that key ecological milestones, crucial to the long-term success of the Agreements, are incomplete and significantly overdue.
- In 2016, 85% of the Great Bear Rainforest was declared off-limits to logging by all involved. However, more than half of this area has still not been identified and designated in reserves.
- Preliminary analysis of available data indicates that major logging companies, including Western Forest Products, Interfor, BCTS, and Mosaic, continue to target rare and at-risk forest types for logging without monitoring oversight, despite this crucial lack of designation of the 85% intended to be off-limits.
- Important milestones are years behind schedule, including:
- A framework for monitoring key indicators of ecological health has not yet been implemented.
- Information-sharing and transparency is insufficient. Logging companies have moved backwards and refuse to share key ecosystem data with other parties.
- Landscape-level reserve plans (intended to protect ecological and cultural values in areas open to logging), should be in place prior to further approval of logging plans. However:
- One quarter (9) of these plans should have been completed by 2018, with a remainder (34) due by 2021 out of over 100 total (see figure 1).
- As of January 27, 2021, no landscape reserve designs are complete.
- Major logging companies continue to lobby for new logging approvals.
- Preliminary analysis by environmental groups of available data shows that large-tree forest types are highly threatened and there is a clear and ongoing trend of high-grading (targeting bigger, older trees) by major logging companies, in the absence of monitoring and landscape reserve design implementation.
- Of the original, largest forest types in the Great Bear Rainforest, 95% have already been logged and only two per cent is currently in protected areas.
(Large older trees are particularly important for maintenance and restoration of ecosystem integrity, as well as climate change mitigation.)
A recent Provincial review of the current condition of old growth forests singled out large trees as having significant ecological value and are at-risk of irreversible biodiversity loss.
- About 40,000 hectares of unprotected, natural old forests in the Great Bear Rainforest (at a minimum) must be deferred from harvest in order for the Provincial government to meet its commitments under this strategic review.
Marketplace Outlook for GBR Forest Products in 2021
- On the strength of positive progress towards protection of ecological integrity, forest products from the Great Bear Rainforest have enjoyed a “no conflict” marketplace status since 2006.
- The significant delays in this five-year implementation period, combined with a lack of transparency and accountability and continued high-grading by major logging companies, has heightened environmental organizations’ concerns of further ecological degradation.
- Because key milestones – especially reserve planning and transparent monitoring of logging practices – are significantly delayed, there is a risk that any opportunity for a substantive reset of these concerning trends will simply be pushed back until the next review period in 2026. This could further threaten long-term ecological integrity, as well as public trust in the promise of balancing human and ecological well-being with industrial logging in the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Environmental organizations are encouraging First Nations and Provincial government decision-makers to swiftly resolve implementation problems that could jeopardize ecological integrity in parts of the Great Bear Rainforest.
- This includes a recommendation to immediately defer harvest of remaining older ‘big tree’ forest types to prevent further high-grading by major logging companies, in keeping with the intent of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements and the Provincial old growth strategic review.
By joining Canopy and The Globe and Mail on March 4, you have an opportunity to signal to all who forged these remarkable agreements that they are important to the global marketplace and offer a landscape of hope and a model to the world – if the agreements can get back on track.