Save The Great Bear Rainforest

Chief Qwatsinas of the Nuxalk Nation with friend visiting Great Bear Rainforest giant cedar
near Bella Coola, photo: Cristina Mittermeier
The Great Bear Rainforest, on the BC mainland across from northern Vancouver Island, is once again in the international spotlight. In 2006 various stakeholders agreed to work together to protect this precious resource, home of the Spirit Bear, old growth cedars, endangered animals, and numerous indigenous communities. The collaboration was unprecedented, and hopes ran high.

4.4 million acres, 50% of the forest, was protected. Additionally, another 11.6 million acres is managed under an ecosystem management plan. However, in spite of initial successes in moving toward sustainability, a less rosy picture is starting to emerge.

The website savethegreatbear.org reports:
"Overall, the agreements amounted to an ambitious and much-celebrated plan that’s yielded some notable success. Sustainable economic development is starting to take root in communities within the Great Bear Rainforest, which is now better protected from logging than it was before.
But these efforts have also been beset by delays that call into question whether the full vision of the agreements will be realized in time to safe-guard the forest as we know it."
The Great Bear Rainforest encompasses one of the largest areas of intact coastal temperate rainforest left on the planet, and is therefore of global significance. In order to maintain the environmental integrity of this ecosystem, scientists using ecosystem based management, say that at least 70% of the natural old growth areas must be protected.

TimberWest clear cuts in the southern Great Bear in 2011, photo: Garth Lenz

50% is good, 70% is better, but 100% is what our goal should be. Logging old growth, regardless of where it is, is not sustainable or in the best interests of humanity.

The BC government and other stakeholders set new ground with the 2006 Great Bear Rainforest agreement. It is time to honour those agreements, and set the stage for further protection.

See government contacts here. Let officials know how you feel about saving old growth, white bears, salmon-bearing streams, and keeping the Great Bear as an intact global treasure.

Get more information about the "Take It Taller" Campaign at  savethegreatbear.org.


  1. Good god, how should this even be an issue to get to 100pc? Let's face it, Canada is already on the path to being a major greenhouse gas emitter due to its oil sands projects. So, why not at least offset that by protecting the entire old growth rain forest? These tropical forests suck up huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, so maybe that is an argument to use?

    1. It is a fight because industry will take as much as the government will give them. They would take 100% if they could.

      I think that some native bands in BC are exploring getting carbon credits for their forested traditional lands. This would mean keeping them in their original state.

      It is sad that our government does not recognize the importance of intact ecosystems and diversity they hold. How, indeed, can it even be an issue? Good question.

  2. Hi Gregg: Carbon credits are an interesting idea. And if I may say so, are one of the investments we offer: http://www.greenworldbvi.com/alternative-investments-options/low-carbon/carbon-credits/. Still, not the perfect solution in this case, but at least an idea.

  3. Anonymous29/6/12

    Sick Sick Sick. You can protect 50% of the land, 20% - 30% of it will be old growth, and 25% will not be harvestable. So what are you protecting? We have a figure of 25%.

    I Live on Vancouver Island, our forestry management is negligable. We don't have one. And if we do, it's substandard and 3rd world. We deforest faster than Brazil, with more modern machinery. Somehow they leave it out of the publics eye. Leaving all the mountains viewable by the town untouched. Fly a helicopter or plane, and you will believe me. Even GoogleEarth.

    To top it off, all of this money is stored in offshore banks. Very littl benefits the economy.

    We have the only reamaining intact forest in the world, we will not see a forest like this for another 500 years. Well, in my humble opinion, lets cut it down. I'll be around when it grows back.

  4. Anonymous29/6/12

    Athabasca oil sands, mass polution, now the destruction of the most lucrative resilient forests in the world.

    Is Canada a 3rd world country? Why is all of this withheld from our people? Does no one care? Do a quick search on google images, "Great Bear Rainforest Clear Cut". You will see their 'forestry practices. Logging trees that have withstood time and have been around since before columbus, and modern english, is not sustainable.


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