Great Bear Rainforest Agreement 2016

“I am pleased to announce that we have reached this pioneering agreement,” said Mr.B.C. Prime Minister Christy Clark at a press conference in Vancouver. “We celebrate what hard work, tenacity and determination can do by working together.” The Great Bear Rainforest stretches from the Discovery Islands of B.C to the Rainforest of Tongas, Alaska. Along with Haida Gwaii, parts of which are protected by other agreements, it represents the largest intact areas of temperate tropical forests on earth. It is home to many plant and animal species, including growing trees, orcas, grizzlies and ghost bears. Since 2006, The Nature Conservancy has focused on strengthening the governance of First Nations communities and the authority of their governments in resource management decisions. In support of the original Great Bear Rainforest agreement, the Conservancy raised $39 million for the creation of the Coastal Opportunity Funds and used an additional $81 million in additional private and public funds to be made available to First Nations communities. This credit is intended to promote economic development and resource management capacity in the region. Almost all of the 27 First Nations that were part of this agreement have a natural resource management office or a governance system. Many new First Nation companies were also produced as a result of the total investment of $120 million. Other aspects of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement have opened additional loopholes. Holmes says that`s not what conservationists had in mind in 2009, when negotiations on the future of the Great Bear Forest reached the point where there appears to have been a consensus that in forests where limited logging would occur, a sincere effort would be made to protect trees based on the unique qualities of areas where trees were growing. Two decades ago, when less than 10 per cent of the rainforest was protected, such an agreement between First Nations, forestry companies and environmental groups seemed unthinkable.

The Great Bear Forest has been the scene of bitter conflicts such as blockades, protests and international boycotts due to the exploitation of ancient forests. Conservation gains are historic, but socio-economic considerations are even more important: agreements must be implemented in partnership with First Nations, whose forest resources, culture and livelihoods are preserved and improved through their implementation. At least the public was similarly expected by conservationists, industry and the provincial government when a “Landmark” agreement was reached nearly four years ago to protect much of the region`s forests and new, allegedly strict conditions for the extraction of raw materials on adjacent lands were established. In a way, says Tavish, it might even be worse today than it was before the deal. Logging now has the supposed blessing of the environmental community. In the mid-1990s, amid the increasing industrial exploitation of tropical forests around the world, First Nations communities in B.C were increasingly concerned about the fate of forests in their traditional areas, for which they often had no legal title. “It hasn`t been a smooth road,” said Rick Jeffery, President and CEO of the Coastal Forest Products Association. “The effort that has been made on this issue over the past year and a half has been phenomenal. There are people in the environmental movement and in industry who have moved heaven and earth to reach this agreement…

our personal thanks to these people. It extends from the entrance to Bute in the BC South Coast to the Alaskan border and contains important rivers, watersheds and large forests that support a rich and diverse fauna.