The government of British Columbia, Canada, announced an agreement that will protect 85% of The Great Bear Rainforest from logging. The deal comes after nearly a decade of negotiations between the interests of environmentalists and First Nations peoples and logging companies.
The Great Bear Rainforest refers to an area of 64,000 square kilometre between Southeastern Alaska and Vancouver Island. The agreement formally recognizes the region and allows 15% of it for logging under strict standards.
The Region is home to 26 First Nations groups and the extraordinarily rare Spirit Bear, also known as the Kermode Bear. The subspecies of The American Black bear has a genetic mutation resulting in a white or cream coat, it is not however an albino.
The Forest is contains 23,000 square kilometres of old growth, which stores vast amounts of carbon in the soil and acts as a continuous carbon sink. Old growth has the potential to release massive amounts of carbon back into the atmosphere if disturbed. The deal increase Old Growth regional protection from 50%-70%.