Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Great Bear Rising

After years of wrangling and debate, The Great Bear Rainforest is about to become one of the largest protected areas in North America. The new park is the result of years of negotiations between the Canadian government, environmental groups, logging companies and native, or First Nation tribes.
The Great Bear Rainforest is located on B.C.'s north and central coast.
Covering more than six million hectares, it is one of the world's largest intact temperate rainforests. The largely roadless area is laced with salmon rivers and has large populations of grizzly bears and white "spirit" bears, which are a rare genetic variation of black bears....

The Nature Conservancy press release has details on the plan to transform the economy of the area from extraction based to a more sustainable one.
Ecosystem-based management in the Great Bear Rainforest seeks to direct the sustainable and cautious use of resources at all scales, from broad landscapes to individual plants.
At the landscape level, a network of new and existing protected areas extending over 5 million acres will protect a core of ecologically and culturally significant areas from logging and other industrial uses. These areas provide the most secure habitat for sensitive native plants and animals, such as the white Spirit bear and many of the most productive salmon streams.
At the watershed level, such as a 20,000-acre river valley, management plans will set aside reserves where little or no resource extraction takes place. These reserves will maintain wildlife habitat and travel corridors, protect waterways and preserve specific values such as threatened species, sensitive soils and cultural, scenic and recreational areas.
At the site level, such as a 250-acre timber stand, forest harvesters will design their logging plans to retain individual trees, or groups of trees, to maintain key habitat features such as streamside forest cover, trees for nesting, or bear or wolf den sites. Logging plans will also seek to sustain ecological process by, for example, leaving large fallen trees in rivers where they form pools and side channels necessary for salmon.

As in every negotiation, the idea was to give all the parties a little something.... but the import of this deal is to protect a huge area... what TNC is calling 25% of the world's remaining temperate rainforest. A remarkable achievement.
Here's a link to a photo essay on the park.

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