Great Bear Rainforest Agreement Highlights

The 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order and Great Bear Rainforest (Forest Management) Act will conserve 85% of the forest and 70% of old growth over time, achieving a high level of ecological integrity.

These initiatives also fulfill cultural, social and economic objectives of First Nations and other communities to meet a high level of human well-being. These goals were first announced in 2006.  This work will continue as outlined in the Land Use Order and Act, for many years to come.

Did you know?

Infographic that shows GBR is one-quarter of all remaining coastal temperate rainforests

The Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast – equivalent in size to Ireland. This land is home to 26 First Nations that overlap the region and have lived there for millennia.

  • The Great Bear Rainforest Announcement outlines the forest practices for the area and increases the amount of protected old-growth forest from 50% to 70%. Eight new areas covering almost 295,000 hectares will be off-limits to logging with 85% (3.1 million hectares) of the forest protected and 15% (550,000 hectares) available for logging to support local jobs and strengthen the region’s communities.
  • The agreement also addresses First Nations’ cultural heritage resources, freshwater ecosystems, and wildlife habitat.
  • The amount of habitat protected for marbled murrelet, northern goshawk, grizzly bear, mountain goat, and tailed frog will increase as each new reserve is developed.
  • The Province signed agreements with the aligned Coastal First Nations, Nanwakolas Council and other individual First Nations to address specific concerns identified by First Nation communities. Most notably, many First Nations will have an increased stake in the region’s forest sector.
  • The Province has also updated agreements with Coastal First Nations, Nanwakolas Council and other individual First Nations to increase their allocation of forest carbon credits to sell and utilize for development projects of importance to them.
  • In 2015, working with many of the same First Nations and employing the same ecosystem-based management approach, four Marine Plans for the areas next to the Great Bear Rainforest were completed through the Marine Plan Partnership.
  • With the Great Bear Rainforest and Marine Plan Partnership combined, the largest land and marine ecosystem in the world will be managed using EBM.

Accomplishments

Over the last five years, the Province of British Columbia and First Nation governments in partnership with stakeholders have made significant progress in the implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) Agreements.

Our collaboration has included:

  • Engaging with other jurisdictions to ensure First Nations with GBR-based carbon offsets are able to access national and international regulated and voluntary markets
  • Implementing a climate action plan that is supporting communities to decarbonize energy systems (including switching diesel generation for electric power), reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare and implement climate change mitigation and adaptation plans
  • Developing plans and resourcing arrangements that are designed to support the creation of a new community-based sustainable shellfish, kelp, and seaweed aquaculture industry
  • Working on policy changes that could improve the economic viability of GBR-based forestry operations
  • Supporting the development of First Nations Guardian Watchmen Programs, monitoring and environmental research and management
  • Substantial progress on completion of Landscape Reserve Designs (LRD) that will fully implement the old growth network in the GBR
  • Through Coast Funds, making significant investments in First Nations business development, conservation, and stewardship capacity
  • Developing new policy and decision-making processes that support the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with the GBR
2022

The Province and First Nations technical representatives complete their review of GBR implementation and develop a consensus package of potential changes for public consultation.

Coast Funds’ investments in First Nations conservation and economic development reach $105.9 million over 432 unique projects in the Great Bear Rainforest.

2021

The legislated periodic review of Great Bear Rainforest implementation begins led by technical representatives from the province, Coastal First Nations, and Nanwakolas Council.

The first round of Landscape Reserve Designs (LRDs) receive government-to-government endorsement beginning the last phase in the completion of the old growth reserve network.

An interim policy was agreed government-to-government to delay harvest decisions for areas without First Nations endorsed LRDs.

2020 Coastal First Nations – Province of British Columbia sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to continue and expand their work to protect the environment and boost the regional economy.
2019 The province invests $2.5 million over three years to support conservation and capacity funding for ecological monitoring, aquatic habitat restoration, First Nations strategic planning, land, and marine stewardship.
2018 B.C. government ends grizzly bear hunt throughout the province.
2017 B.C. government passes the Great Bear Rainforest (Forest Management) Act to conserve 85% of the forest and 70% of old growth over time.
2016 B.C. government enacts new Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order to legally implement elements of the announcement.
2015 B.C. government, after government-to-government discussions, invites public comments on a new proposed Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order and potential new Special Forest Management Areas.
2014 Joint Solutions Project submits detailed recommendations to B.C. government, Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council.
2010/2011 B.C. government reaches reconciliation protocol agreements with Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council. One outcome is to increase their participation in the forest sector and protect cultural and social interests.
2009 114 conservancies and 21 biodiversity, mining and tourism areas are established from 2006 to 2009.
2009 B.C. government amends the land use orders to protect 50% of natural historic old growth forests; all participants agree to a five-year work plan to implement ecosystem-based management.
2007 New legal land use orders are established for the South Central Coast and Central North Coast.
2006 B.C. and First Nations announce the Coast Land Use Decision and commit to ecosystem-based management throughout the Great Bear Rainforest.
2003/2004 Planning participants deliver consensus recommendations to the B.C. government; discussions begin with area First Nations governments.
2000 Several coastal forest companies and environmental groups agree to collaborate through a Joint Solutions Project.
1996 Land and resource management planning begins on the coast of B.C.

For more information about GBR Land Use Orders visit the Great Bear Rainforest - Coast Land Use Decision Update