This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
An agreement reached between the British Columbia, First Nations, environmentalists and forest companies in Vancouver on Monday has finally resolved that industrial logging will be banned in almost 85 per cent of forested lands within B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest. The announcement was made at a ceremony at the University of B.C.’s Museum of Anthropology, where stakeholders agreed that logging will be allowed on only about 550,000 hectares of the 3.65 million hectares of forested lands on the central and north coast.
The decision revealed that all parties have defined 15 per cent of the forested as “managed forest,” 43 per cent is designated as “natural forest” and 42 per cent for protected areas. The agreed annual rate of cut is 2.5 million cubic metres. In addition to that, all parties also agreed to annual monitoring reports and five-year and 10-year reviews of the agreement. The landmark agreement aims to protect biodiversity of B.C.’s coastal temperate rainforest while accepting only a limited amount of commercial logging and respecting the wishes of the First Nations at the same time.
The forest companies that are part of the agreement include Interfor, Western Forest Products, BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper, and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper. Chief forester for Interfor and chair of the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative, Ric Slaco, mentioned in his remarks that “there’ve been a lot of challenges along the way” and “it didn’t just happen. It was an experiment within a cloud of conflict. It was very taxing on individuals involved in the process.” He added that “if I have grey hair, there’s definitely a reason for it.”