Environmentalist groups, despite some of them being out of control, generally have good intentions – preserving nature as it is, preventing it from being destroyed by rise of civilization. And some areas under dispute due to certain environmental groups are totally worth protecting. In one of the very few successful actions of its kind, 9 million acres of Canadian rainforest protected from logging.
The Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia
The huge area that is now known as the Great Bear Rainforest consists of 9.1 million acres on British Columbia’s Pacific Coast. This amounts to roughly the same size as about half of Ireland. It is also considered the biggest tract of intact rainforest in the world.
As part of a three way agreement between environmental groups, logging companies and the aboriginal groups known as the First Nations, some of which inhabit the lands, 85% of the territory is now permanently safe from logging and similar endeavors.
According to a press statement from the Government of British Columbia, the remaining 15% will remain available for logging in order to allow locals to keep their jobs and to support their income. However, logging will take place pretty much under the strictest and most stringent conditions in all of North America.
Twenty six First Nation groups live in the forested area, calling it their home. The native tribes are happy about the outcome of the decade long debate in which the fate of their home was decided.
One of the most important things about the forest is that it is the home to a large number of animals which are hard to find anywhere else. Black bears and grizzlies, orcas and humpback whales, wolverines, and rare species of wolves all call the area home.
One of the rarest species is the Kermode bear, a variant of black bear that has cream colored fur instead. Also known as the spirit bear, the Kermode is found exclusively in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Information directly from the involved parties
First of all, the agreement to keep the area safe was announced 10 years ago, after a period of conflict between some First Nations tribes and timber companies. This made the worldwide news, causing a general avoidance of the timber company’s products.
Eventually, two parties reached an understanding and suspended all boycott and logging campaigns in 2001, and all three started discussions in 2006. There followed a decade of negotiations, with the parties finally reaching a mutually favorable agreement this year.
Marilyn Slett, leader of one of the 26 tribes in the forest, said that they have finally reached an agreement that favors the ecosystem, and that she sees a future where the developments and the ecosystem in the Great Bear Rainforest are balanced.
Image source: Flickr