Coast Forest Conservation Initiative

Coast Forest Conservation Initiative

June 10, 2015 12:52 ET

Forest Companies Welcome Proposed Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order

A New Era of Certainty, Says Industry

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 10, 2015) - Five of British Columbia's largest forest product businesses welcomed today's release of the proposed Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Objectives Order (LUO) that will guide forest management on BC's Central and North Coasts.

The LUO was released today for a 60-day public input following a year of discussions between the BC government, Nanwakolas First Nations and Coastal First Nations. The LUO represents the culmination of 15 years of effort by local communities, businesses, labour, environmental organizations, First Nations and the Province. Once proclaimed, the LUO will provide the foundation for securing ecological integrity and supporting economic development across 64,000 square kilometres of BC's coast.

In January 2014, at the request of First Nations and the BC government, the Joint Solutions Project (JSP), representing five forest companies and three leading environmental groups, provided recommendations on the scope of future logging in the Great Bear Rainforest and conservation measures to support ecological integrity.

"The proposed LUO reflects JSP's recommendations and represents a unique solution for a globally significant area," said Ric Slaco, chair of the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative (CFCI) and Interfor's vice president and chief forester. "Looking back over the past 15 years, a tremendous amount of work and leading-edge science has gone into getting us to this point - it's good to be at the finish line."

Key Facts:

  • The Great Bear Rainforest is located on the mainland coast of BC between Bute Inlet and the border with Alaska.
  • Since 2004, all forest companies in the Great Bear Rainforest have been working with the system of ecosystem-based management (EBM) developed for the GBR by independent science.
  • In 2006, one-third of the region was protected through the creation of 137 new parks and conservancies; under the 2015 LUO, another 500,000 hectares of conservation areas have been proposed - increasing the amount of natural forest protected to 3.1 million hectares or almost 50 per cent of the region.
  • In 2007 LUOs were established to provide a legal framework for the transition to EBM.
  • In 2009, and again in 2013, the LUOs were amended to support the ongoing implementation of EBM.
  • 85% of the forested area is off limits to logging; with 550,000 hectares (15%) of the forested area to be designated as managed forest where logging can occur over the next 250 years under the rules of EBM. Annually, less than 0.1% of the total forested area can be harvested.
  • The 2015 LUO, once proclaimed, will apply to all aspects of forest management and provide protection for fish and wildlife habitat, old growth forests, First Nations' cultural values while providing a sustainable harvest level that will support an economically viable forest sector.
  • The Joint Solutions Project (JSP) was established in 2000 by a group of BC coastal forest companies (CFCI) and environmental organizations (Rainforest Solutions Project-RSP), working collaboratively in land use planning and providing technical analysis and joint recommendations.
  • CFCI is comprised of BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper Corporation, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, Interfor Corporation and Western Forest Products.
  • RSP is comprised of ForestEthics Solutions, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club of BC.

Editor's Note: backgrounder attached.

Contact Information

  • Karen Brandt, Director
    Public Affairs and Corporate Communications
    Interfor Corporation
    (604) 689-6866