An agreement has been reached between environmental groups and forestry companies to increase conservation, while maintaining economic activity in the Great Bear Rainforest, according to the B.C. government. The two groups submitted a joint report to the government Wednesday recommending a number of steps to reach their conservation goals, including a new approach to preserve old growth, cultural values and biodiversity.
“I congratulate the forest companies and environmental groups for their continued cooperation and efforts in finding solutions that manage both the environment and local economies in this unique region of the world,” said Steve Thomson, minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations.
The plan was developed with environmental organizations ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC, in conjunction with five major forestry companies, BC Timber Sales, Interfor, Western Forest Products, Howe Sound Pulp and Paper and Catalyst.
The stakeholders also agreed on a harvest level that will maintain viable forestry operations. The recommendations will now move through a technical review, a formal First Nations consultation process, a 60-day public review and comment period as required under the Land Act.
The Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares on B.C.’s biodiverse north and central mainland coast and is home to plentiful wildlife, including the famous kermode bears, or spirit bears, known for their white coats.