As of January 1st, 2017, Canada's Great Bear Rainforest (Forest Management) Act will formally take effect, following the British Columbia Premier’s announcement in February 2016 that final negotiations had yielded a Great Bear Rainforest agreement — a deal decades in the making:
- In 2001, years of work to build First Nations and market leverage culminated in a “standstill” moratorium on logging in intact forest areas, along with commitments among stakeholders to begin participatory and public land use planning for the region.
- Early planning resulted, five years later, in an initial agreement for the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Ten more years of negotiation resulted in agreement for implementation — ultimately doubling the amount of temperate, old-growth forest designated off-limits to logging.
The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement has emerged as a global model for sustainable development. The conservation measures — for what is now the world's largest remaining swath of coastal temperate rainforest — represent a significant achievement by many of the foundation's Wild Salmon Ecosystems Initiative grantees and their partners, and an enduring gift for future generations.
“The Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast, and is home to 26 separate First Nations. One-third of the 6.4-million-hectare area is fully protected, while the remainder allows low-impact resource development activities, such as forestry, tourism and hydro-electric generation to support the people living in the area.”