Deal Reached to Protect Canada's Coast Rainforest

February 08, 2006 — By Reuters
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Environmentalists and Canada's timber industry said Tuesday they had put an end to their long-running battle over a region of Pacific Coast wilderness often referred to as the Great Bear Rainforest.

The deal governing a region of about 2 million hectares (7,700 square miles) -- about the size of El Salvador -- bans logging in some areas to protect wildlife and requires more environmentally friendly logging in other portions, according to groups involved in the deal.

"This innovative rainforest agreement provides a real world example of how people and wilderness can prosper together," said Lisa Matthaus of the Sierra Club of Canada.

The coastal area, which runs from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the southern end of the Alaska panhandle, contains some of the most dramatic scenery in North America with rugged mountains, coastal islands and few people.

Environmentalists coined the name Great Bear Rainforest in the 1990s as part of an international campaign that at one time included an international boycott of lumber products from British Columbia.

The boycott was suspended in 2001 when several green groups and forestry firms reached a tentative agreement to limit logging.

The area is also home to a rare white-furred subspecies of the normally dark Kermode bear. Often called "spirit bears", the rare white bruins have become environmental symbols in the battle to protect the region.

Source: Reuters