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02-10-2006, 10:06 AM #1
Some good news for the environment: Great Bear Rainforest protected
Seems like we tend to post quite a bit about the bad news. Well, here's some great news. I sit on the Board of Directors of Forest Ethics, and we were just part of a huge victory to protect 5 million acres of intact rainforest in British Columbia. Nearly 10 years of work have gone into this. We celebrated last night with the FE staff and crew, and to see people who had worked night and day for this to be rewarded was truly wonderful. We don't get much good news in the environmental community, so these moments are that much more special.
This is the kind of victory that will affect our children, and many generations to come. It's one of the biggest conservation wins since the Roosevelt era.
So...there is hope, and for those who feel frustrated daily by the seemingly endless stream of bad news for the world's ecosytems, here's a bit of good news.
Huge Canadian Park Is Born of Compromise
By Doug Struck
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, February 7, 2006; Page A01
OTTAWA, Feb. 6 -- Ending a decade-long environmental battle once dubbed the "War of the Woods," British Columbia is set to announce Tuesday the creation of a park twice the size of Yellowstone along a vast coastal swath where grizzly bears and wolves now prowl under thousand-year-old cedar trees.
The park will cover 4.4 million acres, and strict new controls will protect against exploitation on an additional 10 million acres. The entire territory, being called the Great Bear Rainforest, is the result of an unusual alliance of loggers, environmentalists, native groups and the provincial government.
"This is aimed at trying to find a balance, where people can understand and really enjoy our wilderness and we protect our wildlife, while recognizing that people are part of the ecosystem," Gordon Campbell, the premier of British Columbia, said in a phone interview Monday. "We all win. I think this model will be emulated in different parts of the world."
The agreement ends a bitter dispute over the lush coastland and islands that stretch across more than 250 miles and include most of British Columbia's central and north coast, from the northern coast of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border. Warmed by the ocean and fed by rain, this area of evergreen forest is the ancestral home of nearly a dozen native tribes, called First Nations in Canada, and most of it is accessible only by boat or seaplane.
Salmon return to spawn in rivers and streams, providing food for eagles and bears that include grizzlies, black bears and a rare white bear called the Kermode. About 30,000 people are scattered in small towns or reserves in the area, more than half of them natives.
The land already was owned by the provincial government and was slated for logging. For years, environmental groups fought to stop the clear-cutting practices that they say ravaged Vancouver Island and the southern portion of the British Columbia coast. In the late 1990s, they pressed big companies to boycott wood and paper made from the forest, a tactic that led to a truce and the start of negotiations.
"They were very successful in influencing the customers," Patrick Armstrong, a negotiator for the forest product industry, said Monday. "I remember a group of German papermakers who came here and took everyone to the verbal woodshed, telling them to solve the problem."
More than five years later, the talks that started out as "highly conflictual" have resulted in compromise on all sides, according to Merran Smith, a Vancouver representative of the environmentalist group ForestEthics, who has been involved in the controversy since the start.
"This is a transformation of what happens in the British Columbia forest," she said in a phone interview. "The revolution is looking at a standing forest not as a commodity, but as an economic model based on conservation."
Outside the park, 10 million acres will be managed by committees that will set limits on logging, mining and the commercial efforts of native groups that still have claims to land. Negotiators expect additional agreements will bring the total protected area to 21 million acres.
The tribes have agreed to forest-friendly development such as eco-tourism, with the help of a planned $105 million fund. The U.S.-based Nature Conservancy helped raise about half of that privately. British Columbia has promised about $26 million, and negotiators are hoping that the Canadian federal government will contribute the rest.
"This is the key. This will jump-start the economy," said Arthur Sterritt, executive director for the Coastal First Nations groups. "The way the forest will be used will be absolutely sustainable. We are confident of that."
"There still will be logging," Smith said. But "we are looking for a much lighter footprint on the land. There will be less roading, less logging. The volume of wood coming out will be less. Streambeds and wetlands and wildlife habitat areas will not be touched."
Logging and all other economic activity will be allowed only if experts determine that the resource is sustainable, officials say.
The Nature Conservancy decided to launch the fund-raising for the Canadian project because of its size and the unusual conciliation of the final negotiations, officials of the organization said.
"This really represents conservation in the 21st century," said Steve McCormick, chief executive officer of the group. "It's not an all-or-nothing proposition -- all protected, or all used. To conserve globally important natural habitat worldwide on a scale that will be meaningful, we have to contemplate human use."
Kent Gilges, a Rochester-based manager for the Nature Conservancy, said donors that include foundations and private individuals were quickly convinced of the advantage of preserving such a large area.
"This is basically two-thirds of the British Columbia coast," he said. "If you look from space, it actually stands out as an extraordinary green spot. Here you have an opportunity to save something big enough that, even with global warming, it could sustain its biodiversity long into the future."
Last edited by watersnowdirt; 02-10-2006 at 10:13 AM.“Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”
02-10-2006, 10:13 AM #2
Sounds like a deal similar to the Muskwa-Kechika area in NE BC, pretty cool to see these arrangements that benefit everyone instead od one or two special interest groups.
02-10-2006, 10:18 AM #3
02-10-2006, 10:20 AM #4
Good work hippy.The trumpet scatters its awful sound Over the graves of all lands Summoning all before the throne
Death and mankind shall be stunned When Nature arises To give account before the Judge
02-10-2006, 10:24 AM #5
That is so cool! A worthy endeavor, for sure.
Forest Ethics? Never heard.¡Órale, vato!
02-10-2006, 10:25 AM #6
This is the only map I could find on your site. Do you have a better map of the area?
02-10-2006, 10:38 AM #7
I'll see if I can find a better map Slippy. This is also a good little intro to the area...
http://www.forestethics.org/downloads/movie5.html“Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”
02-10-2006, 01:38 PM #8
Some additional coverage from the New York Times... maybe it's just me, but I keep getting chills the more I read this.
New York Times -- Canada to Shield Five Million Acres
by Clifford Krauss
February 7th, 2006
HARTLEY BAY, British Columbia — In this sodden land of glacier-cut fjords and giant moss-draped cedars, a myth is told by the Gitga'at people to explain the presence of black bears with a rare recessive gene that makes them white as snow.
Princess Royal Island, in British Columbia, is part of the Great Bear Rain Forest, the largest remaining temperate coastal rain forest. The area, more than 15 million acres, has only about 25,000 residents.
Shawn Kenmuir, area manager for Triumph Timber, which already avoids clear-cut logging, a practice that has sometimes led to boycotts.
The Raven deity swooped down on the land at the end of an ice age and decided that one out of every 10 black bears born from that moment on would be bleached as "spirit bears." It was to be a reminder to future generations that the world must be kept pristine.
On Tuesday, an improbable assemblage of officials from the provincial government, coastal Native Canadian nations, logging companies and environmental groups will announce an agreement that they say will accomplish that mission in the home of the spirit bear, an area that is also the world's largest remaining intact temperate coastal rain forest.
A wilderness of close to five million acres, almost the size of New Jersey, in what is commonly called the Great Bear Rain Forest or the Amazon of the North will be kept off limits to loggers in an agreement that the disparate parties describe as a crossroads in their relations.
The agreement comes after more than a decade of talks, international boycott campaigns against Great Bear wood products and sit-ins in the forests by Native Canadians and environmentalists, who chained themselves to logging equipment.
The process has already inspired similar efforts to save the Canadian boreal forest, to the north, and suggestions that the agreement could be a model for preservation in the Amazon and other threatened forests.
Scientists say the agreement should preserve not only the few hundred spirit bears and other black bears, but also one of the highest concentrations of grizzly bears in North America as well as unique subspecies of goshawks, coastal wolves, Sitka blacktail deer and mountain goats.
"It's like a revolution," said Merran Smith, director of the British Columbia Coastal Program of Forest Ethics, an environmental group. "It's a new way of thinking about how you do forestry. It's about approaching business with a conservation motive up front, instead of an industrial approach to the forest."
Under the agreement, the loggers will be guaranteed a right to work in 10 million acres of the forest, which some environmentalists criticize. But they will be obliged to cut selectively: away from critical watersheds, bear dens and fish spawning grounds, negotiators said.
"There's a new era dawning in British Columbia," said Gordon Campbell, the province's premier. "You have to establish what you value, and work together. This collaboration is something we have to take into the future, and it is something the world can learn from."
As a sign of new Native power gained in recent court cases, many areas that will be preserved or selectively logged have been chosen based on the oral tradition of Native groups and the opinions of their elders. These include areas with cultural significance like ancient cemeteries, or those with medicinal herbs and cedars big enough to make totem poles, canoes and long houses.
If the federal government agrees, more than $100 million will also be raised by governments and foundations to start ecotourism lodges, shellfish aquaculture and other environmentally sustainable economic activities for the 25,000 people who live in the region.
"Now we can manage our destiny," said Ross Wilson, chairman of the tribal council of the Heiltsuk, one of the Native nations involved. "Without this agreement, we would be going to court forever and we would have to put our children and old ladies dressed in button blankets in the way of the chainsaws," he added, referring to the ceremonial dress worn in past protests.
Among the supporters of the agreement are some of the biggest players in Canadian lumber and paper, including Western Forest Products, Interfor and Canfor.
"It's a cultural shift," said Shawn Kenmuir, an area manager for Triumph Timber, which has already forsaken old clear-cut practices and begun consulting with the Gitga'at before cutting on their traditional lands. "We've started the transition from entitlement to collaboration."
The forest represents a quarter of what remains of coastal temperate rain forests in the world.
Because 15 feet of rain can fall in a year, the Great Bear has never suffered a major forest fire. That has allowed some of the tallest and oldest trees on earth to thrive, including cedars more than a thousand years old.
An estimated 20 percent of the world's remaining wild salmon swim through the forest's fjords, including coho and sockeye, whose spawning grounds were threatened by erosion caused by past logging. Largely intact because of its remoteness, the forest contains an abundance of wolverines, bats, peregrine falcons, marbled murrelet sea birds and coastal tailed frogs.
The ecological richness is immediately apparent to the few people who visit. Within minutes of a recent helicopter visit to Princess Royal Island, in the heart of the rain forest, a group of visitors saw a pack of six gray and black wolves, a seal and numerous bald eagles and swans.
"Look at the forest move," said Marven Robinson, 36, a Gitga'at guide, as eagles glided through the moist air and the wolf pack played hide-and-seek with the visitors along a channel of diaphanous water. "As long as there is a spirit bear, we're going the right way."
The efforts to save the rain forest began a decade ago, as lumber companies that had already cut most of the old-growth forest around British Columbia, by far Canada's richest forestry province, began moving into the Great Bear.
A deluge of postcards and demonstrations by groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace at shareholders meetings and retail outlets pressed American, Japanese and European hardware chains to shun products from the area.
By 1999, when the Home Depot announced it would phase out sales of wood from the Great Bear and other endangered old forests, some lumber companies were shifting their approach, agreeing to work with the environmentalists.
MacMillan Bloedel, before it was acquired by Weyerhaeuser, broke ranks with the industry and promised in 1998 to phase out clear-cutting on the British Columbia coast. Other companies gradually fell into line.
"The customer doesn't want products with protesters chained to it," said Patrick Armstrong, a consultant who served as a negotiator for the lumber companies. "We're dealing with old-growth forests with charismatic wildlife."
Once Mr. Armstrong sat at the opposite side of the bargaining table from the environmentalists, but now he works closely with them. "This needs to be celebrated — it's a big, big deal," he said. "Everyone had a greater interest in resolving the problems than continuing the conflict."“Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”
02-10-2006, 01:59 PM #9
How did dirty smelly hippies accomlish something so wonderfull?Originally Posted by blurred
02-10-2006, 02:11 PM #10
A better map:
and more info (with pictures) from The Nature Conservatory.If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.
02-10-2006, 02:30 PM #11Originally Posted by Snow Dog
02-10-2006, 02:48 PM #12
The actual details haven't been released yet. I don't think it's a park either (although there are probably existing parks there) -- it's a protected area. It's a mix of areas; some are closed to development and some will have restricted logging, fishing, hunting, etc..
A view from my mapping software:If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.
02-10-2006, 03:11 PM #13
Fantastic...Great Job...to you and all your crew for this
I Thank you
My kids thank you
There kids thank you
There kids, kids........... thank you
The Bears thank you
The Great Spirit and all the animals of the costal forest thanks you
I hiked around that country when I was 20...those huge trees, are majestic.
02-10-2006, 03:26 PM #14
I think this calls for a sick bird."In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair." -Emerson
02-10-2006, 03:40 PM #15
BC Government link to maps, pictures, and other propoganda.If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.
02-10-2006, 04:02 PM #16
And a radio interview with some the players at the CKNW Audio Vault (registration required), pick Thursday Feb 9, 10am and drag the slider to 7:20.
02-10-2006, 07:05 PM #17Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- North Vancouver/Whistler
So so happy to see environmentalists and logging interests cooperating for something wonderful. Congratulations
02-10-2006, 09:17 PM #18
Compromise. Works so much better than the whole polarization thing. I hope this serves as a good model for future compromises with timber (oil, gas, mining, etc) companies here in North America and overseas.
02-10-2006, 09:39 PM #19Funky but chic
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- Left Field
Whoa that's almost as big as Adirondack State Park in New York!
(being a dick for no reason, sorry, that's quite an accomplishment, congrats, keep it up please)
02-10-2006, 10:02 PM #20
Congratulations! It just goes to show that there is a compromise for every situation. I only wish more people would take note of that.I think that the human mind is unique among all other forms of life in that it can spontaneously create unique thoughts and provide unique behaviors. Instead of rewarding that uniqueness we, for some reason probably because of cultural and social necessity, we chastise unique behavior and reward conformity.
02-10-2006, 10:12 PM #21Originally Posted by iceman
02-10-2006, 10:48 PM #22Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
wow that rocks! It's good that we can protect the environment now, because once it's gone, it's gone. From what I saw in the Seattle Times, they won't be protecting the whole area, but severely protecting some pinpoint areas and just making it harder to develop on others. From what I've heard, logging will continue in areas with little environmental significance. This is a nice compromise all around! Good to know that we still can compromise on things, instead of just sticking out positions and sticking to our guns.
02-11-2006, 11:20 AM #23
15 years ago when I first started doing advocacy work I thought that compromise was the ugliest word in the English language. It's looking pretty damn good right now though .
02-11-2006, 12:11 PM #24
It's great to hear some positive news.
Too bad it has to come from Canada. Bush is still trying to get rid of our own national forests as fast as he can:
Note the smokescreen of "we need the money for rural schools". The war in Iraq costs that much every twelve hours.
Even Idaho Republicans aren't on this bus (Senator Craig).