Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


Press Releases

Re: logging plans in the Phillips watershed in the southern Great Bear Rainforest

May 26, 2017   -   Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and Stand.earth, collectively known as Rainforest Solutions Project (RSP), acknowledge the Kwiakah First Nation’s Indigenous rights and title. We expect the BC government and Western Forest Products (WFP) to seek agreement in the Phillips watershed with the Nation consistent with their Indigenous rights and title and the requirements for meaningful First Nations consultation found in the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements Land Use Order (GBRO) proclaimed February 1, 2016. The environmental groups involved in the Rainforest Solutions Project take Kwiakah First Nation (KFN) concerns seriously and our organizations are deeply committed to ensuring that the concurrent goals of Ecosystem-Based Management (to maintain ecological integrity and achieve high levels of human well- being) that underlie the GBRO continue to be met. We continue to monitor the situation in the Phillips to ensure that the spirit and intent of the GBR Agreements is successfully applied. We have consistently communicated with the representatives of WFP and the provincial government that we expect the mechanisms and options built into the 2016 GBRO to be used to ensure that both ecological and cultural values are safeguarded and Indigenous rights and title respected. It is our ardent belief that in the spirit of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements that took twenty years to develop and finalize, collaboration and principled problem-solving will prevail between the parties to create a mutually satisfactory and durable solution. In response to a recent article in The Tyee (May 8) about the conflict between the Kwiakah, WFP and the province over the rate of cut and amount of logging planned in the Phillips watershed, we also would like to offer clarity, background information and our perspective about what the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements can and cannot do relative to this conflict. BACKGROUND & CONTEXT Final implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements was announced by First Nations governments and the BC government, with the support of our organizations and five forestry companies (including WFP) as stakeholders, on February 1, 2016. The 2016 Agreements increased protection and strengthened conservation mechanisms (e.g. legally required reserve planning, First Nations cultural objectives etc.) across the region as a whole. Overall conservation levels are higher in the northern portion of the GBR than in the southern portion in recognition of the greater portion of intact old- growth rainforests in the northern portion and greater impacts from extensive logging history in the south. From a regional perspective, the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements (as systematized in the Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Objectives and the Great Bear Sustainable Forest Act of 2016) set 85 percent total (3.1 million hectares) and 83% of all the old growth forests of the Great Bear Rainforest’s coastal temperate rainforests permanently off-limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 percent of the forest is subject to the most stringent commercial logging legal standards in North America under Ecosystem-Based Management. The combination of Strategic Engagement Agreements, new institutional mechanisms and new legal & policy instruments were designed to strengthen First Nations decision-making powers and oversight of their lands by institutionalizing over-arching co-management at a government to government level, requiring stronger consultation requirement with individual First Nations and by increasing legal protection for a suite of First Nations cultural and heritage sites, and food and ceremonial plant species. The underlying spirit and intent of this Agreement Framework was that logging activities would be carried out with the consent of First Nations in their corresponding territories. In the absence of consent, licensees are expected to engage more creative problem-solving mechanisms with First Nations to find a workable solution. Because the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements were negotiated largely at a regional strategic level and recognized that better information would be available in locally specific areas, the capacity to problem solve at the local level was also developed to allow for continuous improvement andto anticipate the availability of higher quality local information and/or localized disagreements over logging rates such as those currently occurring in the Phillips. In addition to requiring 85% of the forested area being off limits to logging, the far-reaching conservation and human well-being framework covering over two dozen Indigenous territories and 6.4 million hectares, also requires a follow-up reserve design process. The reserve designs map out critical layers of information based on cultural and ecological values while maintaining regional cut levels. AVAILABLE SOLUTIONS All the conservation targets in the GBR Land Use Order are developed to protect enough of each type of ecosystemto maintain the diversity and ecological health of the forests regionally. The follow-up reserve design process is intended to refine this process and ensure that these values were appropriately met at the landscape unit / watershed level. A reserve design process in areas where industrial logging is allowed is required by law to map out where conservation will be in each watershed, while also providing opportunities to address Indigenous and non-Indigenous community concerns and input from stakeholders or other new information. If needed it is possible to make additional adjustments to conservation targets in specific watersheds/landscape units to address serious concerns. This process and other built-in problem solving mechanisms should and must be used as a way forward for the Kwiakah, WFP and the province. Rainforest Solutions Project will continue to closely monitor the reserve planning process and discussions about an acceptable rate of cut in the Phillips watershed with the Kwiakah First Nation, WFP and the Province. We strongly encourage the parties to use the existing Great Bear Rainforest Framework problem-solving mechanisms to come to a mutually agreeable resolution which ensures that the new legal and policy rules in the Great Bear Rainforest benefit both the environment and communities, while upholding Indigenous rights and title are respected. In the event that the problem solving approaches currently available are exhausted without mutually satisfactory resolution, then we will advocate strongly for more creative problem solving approaches to be developed and applied. PDF: http://www.savethegreatbear.org//images/uploads/RSP_on_Phillips_may_19_draft3.pdf

Great Bear Rainforest Progress Update: 1rst Anniversary of the Legal and Policy Framework

February 1, 2017   -   February 1, 2017 marks one year since the announcement of the Great Bear Rainforest Legal and Policy Framework

B.C. Groups Win Prestigious Buckminster Fuller Award for Role in Safeguarding Great Bear Rainforest

October 5, 2016   -   Fuller Challenge Award 2016 goes to Rainforest Solutions Project, a project of Tides Canada Initiative with Greenpeace, Stand.earth and Sierra Club BC

Final Agreement Will Permanently Safeguard 85 Percent of Great Bear Rainforest

February 1, 2016   -   Today First Nations governments and the BC government, with the support of ForestEthics Solutions, Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and five forestry companies, announced the fulfilment of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. Eighty-five percent (3.1 million hectares) of the remote wilderness region’s coastal temperate rainforests are now permanently off-limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 percent (550,000 hectares) of the forest will be subject to the most stringent commercial logging legal standards in North America. First Nations oversight of their lands has been strengthened and new community development opportunities negotiated as a result of the government-to-government implementation process.

TimberWest logging in the Great Bear Rainforest like there is no tomorrow

May 21, 2015   -   New information compiled by Greenpeace, ForestEthics Solutions and Sierra Club B.C reveals that logging company TimberWest has dramatically sped up logging in the Great Bear Rainforest and targeted globally endangered rainforest ecosystems before stricter logging regulations come into effect. The environmental organizations are calling on the company to freeze their logging operations in the region until planning is completed to ensure that endangered rainforests will be safe. Additionally the organizations are asking the BC government to ensure they aren’t approving new cutting permits until new stricter logging regulations are in place. These are currently under negotiation with the BC Government and the region’s First Nations.

Environmental Organizations Welcome Province and First Nations Great Bear Rainforest Commitments

March 31, 2014   -   Greenpeace, ForestEthics Solutions and Sierra Club B.C. welcome the commitments received by letter today from the B.C. government and First Nations organizations - Great Bear Initiative and Nanwakolas Council - to deliver the remaining measures required for the final implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements by the end of 2014.

Forest Companies & Environmental Groups Deliver Joint Recommendations for the Great Bear Rainforest

January 29, 2014   -   Joint recommendations to achieve final implementation of ecosystem-based management (EBM) in the Great Bear Rainforest have been reached among five forest product businesses and three leading environmental groups who together form the Joint Solutions Project (JSP).

British Columbians Want the Great Bear Rainforest Conservation Agreements Finished, New Poll Shows

February 7, 2013   -   On the seventh anniversary of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, Greenpeace, ForestEthics Solutions and Sierra Club BC are calling on BC’s political parties to commit to wrapping up the agreements in their election platforms.

Over 10,000 People Ask Premier Clark to Complete the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements

July 19, 2012   -   ForestEthics Solutions, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC today presented BC Premier Christy Clark with a scroll of signatures from more than 10,000 people calling on the BC government to finish the job it started over a decade ago and complete the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. The event marked a major milestone in public support to safeguard the Great Bear Rainforest.

Vancouver, BC Artist Wins ‘Great Bear’s Got Talent’ Contest

July 11, 2012   -   A selection committee, including famed Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman and Kitasoo-Xai’Xais First Nation photographer Doug Neasloss, has selected British Columbia artist Laura Wasylyshen and her work “Spirit in the Water” as the winner of the Great Bear’s Got Talent contest.

‘Great Bear’s Got Talent’ Contest Launches on Facebook

May 30, 2012   -   A new talent contest called ‘Great Bear’s Got Talent’ just launched on Facebook, challenging applicants from British Columbia, Canada and around the world to create the most ‘artful and stirring homage” to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Only half of Great Bear Rainforest off-limits to logging, 6 years after historic agreement

February 7, 2012   -   Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, an initiative that was lauded across B.C. and around the world for its commitment to preserve this rare rainforest. But instead of celebrating, environmental groups are warning that current rules still allow logging in 50 per cent of the Great Bear Rainforest.

TimberWest logging threatens Great Bear Rainforest Solution

June 28, 2011   -   ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC released photos today that show increased TimberWest logging activity in the southern part of the Great Bear Rainforest is jeopardizing success of the conservation model that was established to protect the area. The forests where TimberWest operates are already the hardest hit and the least protected in the region.

Premier Clark: Protect the Great Bear Rainforest, urge conservation groups from three continents

April 1, 2011   -   Environmental organizations working to protect tropical rainforests around the equator have asked the British Columbia government to take the necessary steps to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, as announced on March 31, 2009. The letter comes on the second anniversary of the signing of the landmark Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, and serves as a reminder to the new premier that there is still much work left to be done.

First Nations receive Real Estate Foundation of BC Award for Great Bear Rainforest Agreements

November 19, 2010   -   First Nations governments whose territories cover the Great Bear Rainforest — the Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative and the Nanwakolas Council — have received the prestigious Land Award from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. The Great Bear Rainforest First Nations have been leaders of a landmark initiative that has already seen two million hectares protected, initial changes made to logging practices to increase conservation and first steps taken in restoring community well-being.

Critical Species in the Great Bear Rainforest Falling Through the Cracks

March 5, 2010   -   A new report, entitled “Slipping Through the Cracks? The Fate of Focal Species in the Great Bear Rainforest”, was released by Greenpeace, ForestEthics and Sierra Club BC. The report shows there is still a risk of extinction for a number of important species of conservation concern, including grizzly bears, marbled murrelets, mountain goats, northern goshawks and tailed frogs.

Group of Companies Receive International Eco-certification in the Great Bear Rainforest

December 11, 2009   -   Nearly one million hectares of temperate rainforest have been newly certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in BC's Great Bear Rainforest. The forest companies who have been newly certified are Western Forest Products, Interfor, and BC Timber Sales. As buyers of wood products from the forest, Catalyst Paper and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper supported the certification process for the companies.

Promise to Protect Great Bear Rainforest Becomes Reality – Five Year Plan in Place

March 31, 2009   -   The promise made three years ago to protect one-third of British Columbia’s globally unique Great Bear Rainforest and develop the foundations for a conservation-based economy in the region has been fulfilled. The announcement lays out the tremendous ecological and economic gains for the region and the long-term commitment to ensure the health of the rainforest and communities.

New Report Shows Great Bear Rainforest a Safe Carbon Storehouse

March 3, 2009   -   A new report released by Greenpeace, Forest Ethics, And Sierra Club BC concludes that an ‘ecosystem based’ approach to logging in the Great Bear Rainforest would maintain old growth forest with approximately 108 million tons of carbon storage, and shows that British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest not only stores massive amounts of carbon per hectare, but is also well positioned to withstand some of the effects of climate change because of its old growth forest and location.

Protected areas legislated on Haida Gwaii

January 13, 2009   -   Environmental groups ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC welcome the legislation of nine new conservancies on Haida Gwaii on BC’s coast.

Stage set for next steps

April 29, 2008   -   Environmental groups welcome province’s move to complete legislation of protected areas in the Great Bear Rainforest.

High Risk Areas in the Great Bear Rainforest Require Action

April 1, 2008   -   ForestEthics, Sierra Club BC and Greenpeace have collectively released a report with new scientific analysis that shows critical ecosystems are at high risk in the Great Bear Rainforest. The data shows a clear gap between the current state of conservation and full ecosystem health for the region.

Milestone agreement bears fruit

February 22, 2008   -   A set of milestones negotiated between environmental organizations and logging companies to significantly advance the implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements (announced in February 2006) has begun to bear fruit.

New Forestry Laws Legislated

February 7, 2008   -   Environmental groups congratulate the Province and First Nations for establishing legal regulations that take us one step closer to conserving some of the world's last ancient coastal temperate rainforest.

Haida Gwaii Land Use Plan Announced

December 12, 2007   -   Environmental groups ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter welcome the announcement of a new land use plan for Haida Gwaii.

WWF Gift to the Earth Award

May 10, 2007   -   ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club of BC, along with coastal First Nations, several logging companies and BC Premier Gordon Campbell accepted the World Wildlife Fund’s international Gift to the Earth Award for their collaborative work on a conservation plan for BC’s Great Bear Rainforest.

Time Ticking Down for Great Bear Rainforest

March 29, 2007   -   Time is running out to keep the Great Bear Rainforest conservation plan on track, say environmental groups. And with only two years remaining to meet the March 31st, 2009 deadline for the internationally heralded agreements, three leading groups today put Premier Campbell and logging company CEOs on notice that time is ticking down – and they are keeping track.

Government, Industry Must Pick up the Pace

February 7, 2007   -   Environmental groups working on the conservation plan are cautiously optimistic about implementation. But the pace of change must pick up if government is to meet its goal of full implementation by March 2009.

Groundbreaking Great Bear Rainforest Agreement Secures $120 million

January 21, 2007   -   Environmental groups welcomed the federal government's announcement that it will add $30M to complete a $120M groundbreaking conservation management & economic development initiative.

Great Bear Rainforest Agreements Stalled

September 22, 2006   -   When Will Real Change Hit the Ground?

Environmental Groups support new conservancy designation with caution

May 5, 2006   -   Conservancy designation must safeguard biodiversity over economic development in new protected areas of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Environmental groups call for consultation on new conservancy designation

March 15, 2006   -   Environmental groups call for provincial briefing and consultation of environmental community on a new conservancy designation.

BC Commits to Legislate Protection of 2 Million Hectares of Great Bear Rainforest

February 7, 2006   -   A coalition of three leading environmental groups, along with industry leaders and indigenous groups, announced success after a decade long campaign to protect the globally unique Great Bear Rainforest. The long awaited government announcement sets the stage to protect one third of the Great Bear Rainforest from all logging and will require the use of more sustainable logging practices for the remaining area.

Premier Campbell fails to meet commitment

September 30, 2005   -   Premier Campbell has failed to keep his promise to finalize vital land use agreements for the Great Bear Rainforest by the “end of summer” according to Greenpeace, Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter, ForestEthics and Rainforest Action Network.

Hundreds Protest Canada’s Forest Destruction At Global Forest Summit

June 1, 2005   -   Hundreds of concerned citizens and activists from across Canada and the United States rallied outside the world’s largest forest industry gathering to demand more forest protection and a shift to ecosystem-based logging practices for all of Canada’s endangered forests and endangered species habitat.

Government Inaction Threatens Great Bear Rainforest Agreement

April 28, 2005   -   ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and Sierra Club of Canada’s BC Chapter released their annual report card on the Great Bear Rainforest. The groups awarded dismal grades to the B.C. government and logging companies for not finalizing and implementing the consensus solutions package for the region, forged by First Nations and multiple stakeholders.

‘Joint Solutions Project’ Receives Forest Leadership Award

March 1, 2005   -   The Joint Solutions Project, a British Columbia-based cooperative initiative formed by nine environmental groups and forestry companies to collaborate on finding new solutions to longstanding environmental disagreements in the Great Bear Rainforest, received the 2005 ForestLeadership Partnership Award for commendable teamwork between different organizations to further sustainable forestry.

Diverse Interests Reach Consensus on Land-use Recommendations for B.C.‘s Central Coast

January 13, 2004   -   The Central Coast Land and Resource Management Planning (CCLRMP) table, consisting of representatives from communities, labour, environmental groups, tourism, forest companies and recreation interests, has reached an unprecedented consensus on land-use recommendations for B.C.'s Central Coast.

BC government renews short-term protection in the Great Bear Rainforest

June 30, 2003   -   On June 25, the British Columbia government extended interim protection of the rainforest valleys identified in the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. The executive Orders in Council will continue to safeguard these valleys from logging through June 30, 2004.

Great Bear Rainforest Two Years Later: BC Government Still Not Making the Grade

April 7, 2003   -   ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter released their second annual Great Bear Rainforest Report Card, giving the BC government dismal grades on most aspects of its commitment to uphold the precedent-setting April 2001 agreement.

Environmentalists Release Report Warning of Bogus Forest Certification Schemes

March 26, 2003   -   Environmental groups released a report documenting the environmentally destructive forest practices endorsed by industry-backed certification schemes - Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

International Body Asked To End Overcutting of Canadian Cedar

March 23, 2003   -   The Heiltsuk First Nation and Greenpeace, representing several First Nations and environmental groups, today petitioned the implementation body of the Convention for Biological Diversity to help end the over-harvesting of Western Red Cedar in British Columbia, Canada.

Global buyers of wood products “going green”, IBM report shows

March 1, 2003   -   Environmental groups applauded the release of a new report demonstrating that major customers of BC forest products are shifting their purchasing toward greener, more environmentally friendly products.

Old-Growth “War of Words” in New York Times

December 19, 2002   -   Environmental groups ran an ad in the New York Times to correct a statement made there last week by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell regarding spotted owl management and the state of B.C.’s old growth forests

BC government orders short-term protection in the Great Bear Rainforest

May 22, 2002   -   The BC cabinet formalized interim protection of the 20 intact rainforest valleys identified in the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. In this first step toward more permanent protection, the government established executive Orders In Council that safeguard these valleys from logging and development through June 30, 2003.

One year after Great Bear Agreement, the fate of BC’s ancient rainforests is still uncertain

April 1, 2002   -   One year after the precedent-setting Great Bear Rainforest Agreement was announced to protect 603,000 hectares of British Columbia's ancient forests, Gordon Campbell's Liberal government is not living up to many of its commitments. Today a coalition of environmental groups said the government's lack of progress in implementing critical components of the accord could threaten this hard-won truce between environmentalists and logging companies.

Environmental Groups Sign Strategic Protocol with Haida Nation

March 6, 2002   -   March 6 marks an historic moment with the launch of the Haida title case and with the signing of a protocol with four key environmental groups - ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Sierra Club of BC, and Rainforest Action Network - to work in a strategic alliance to respect the earth, waters and culture of Haida Gwaii.

Environmental Groups Express Cautious Optimism about Government Plans for BC’s Coast

November 15, 2001   -   ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Sierra Club of British Columbia are cautiously optimistic about Sustainable Resource Management Minister Stan Hagen's announcement endorsing the Central Coast Land Use Planning Table Phase 1 decision, and completing land-use planning for the central and north coasts.

Huge Victory for Canada’s Rainforests: Environmentalists Vow to Suspend Markets Campaign

April 1, 2001   -   Conservationists won a major victory today as government endorsed an historic agreement between environmentalists, First Nations, logging companies and communities on British Columbia's Central and North coast rainforests, known as the Great Bear Rainforest.