Great Bear Rainforest - Coast Land Use Decision Update

The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure that covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central Coast. It is the largest intact temperate coastal rainforest in the world and is home to 25 percent of the world’s remaining temperate coastal old-growth rainforest.

The 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order and the Great Bear Rainforest (Forest Management) Act will conserve 85 percent of the forest and 70 percent of old growth over time, achieving a high level of ecological integrity. This leaves 15 percent of the area available for sustainable forestry. These initiatives fulfill cultural, social and economic objectives of First Nations and other communities to meet a high level of human well-being and ecological integrity, the two concurrent goals of ecosystem-based management (EBM) announced in 2006.

Planning for this region was initiated in 1996 with the announcement of the central coast land and coastal resource management plan process. The challenge of establishing a balance between conservation values and forestry development was key for this planning process. An interim agreement was announced in April of 2001 followed by the establishment of a completion table to address outstanding points.

Preparatory work for the land and resource management planning process in the adjacent North Coast was initiated in 2001 with public planning starting in January 2002. Final recommendations were submitted to governments from the Central Coast in May 2004 and from the North Coast in February 2005.

Following government to government review and negotiations, the Province and participating First Nations of the north and central coast announced the coast land use decision on February 7, 2006. This decision set the stage for implementation and further development of ecosystem-based management in the central and north coast plan areas, a region known more familiarly as the Great Bear Rainforest.

While developed independently of one another, common issues and approaches influenced the Central and North Coast planning processes. Both processes were informed by the work of the coast information team (2002-2004), an independent scientific panel tasked with defining elements of ecosystem-based management.

In addition to adopting an ecosystem-based management approach to resource management and the creation of unique new land management designations (114 conservancies and 21 biodiversity, mining and tourism areas), these processes also witnessed a fundamental change in the role of First Nations, who emerged as partners with the Province following the negotiation of government to government agreements. A collaborative governance structure with First Nations and key stakeholders continues through implementation.

Legal Direction

Legal direction provides direction for Ecosystem based management forest practices in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Land & Resource Management Plans

Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Decision Resources

Planning work in the Great Bear Rainforest was informed by work completed by the ecosystem-based management working group and the coast information team as well as research conducted during the North and Central Coast land resource management plan processes.