Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Milestone agreement bears fruit

February 22, 2008

(Vancouver, BC) – 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. The milestones agreement was reached between the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative (CFCI), formed by Western Forest Products, Interfor, BC Timber Sales, Canfor and Catalyst Paper, and a coalition of environmental organizations consisting of ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC (Rainforest Solutions Project).

These milestones are a bilateral, voluntary agreement to proactive steps for the transition to Ecosystem Based Management. They are designed to support First Nations, the Province and stakeholders as they finalize planning and to maintain ecological and socio-economic options during the transition to EBM. Several milestones have already been achieved and will have measurable benefit for the spectacular environment of the region.

Immediate implementation of new logging regulation

  • Changes to logging practices based on the new regulation announced in February 2008 will have an immediate impact in large tracts of the Great Bear Rainforest. ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC (forming the Rainforest Solutions coalition) have reached voluntary agreements with BC Timber Sales, Interfor and Western Forest Products to ensure that already existing logging approvals – legally exempt from the new government regulations – will be brought into high levels of compliance. This means that these logging companies will apply the better conservation standards in the Great Bear Rainforest before they are legally required to do so.

Ecologically critical areas to maintain options during transition to full EBM identified

  • CFCI and the environmental organizations have identified where CFCI businesses will and will not operate outside of protected areas while Ecosystem Based Management is being implemented in the Great Bear Rainforest. The intent is to maintain important ecological and socioeconomic values during transition to full Ecosystem Based Management until March 31 2009.
  • The areas where CFCI businesses will not conduct timber harvesting operations before March 31 2009 capture key ecological values; in particular they include forest ecosystems that are near or above high risk thresholds as defined by the EBM Handbook. These areas cover approximately 1,000,000 hectares of CFCI gross tenure, and represent approximately 40% of the CFCI forested tenure in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Work underway to allow Forest Stewardship Council Certification to support EBM.

  • CFCI and the three organizations held a scoping workshop with a certifier to allow for a better understanding of the certification process, the context of EBM in the Great Bear Rainforest for FSC, and clear direction on how to proceed towards certification. No forest operation in the Great Bear Rainforest is currently FSC certified.

The Milestones point towards the goal of fully implementing EBM by March 31st 2009 as agreed to by the Province, First Nations and many coastal stakeholders. The Milestones also underscore the fact that to successfully reach the goal action is required by all those involved.