British Columbia: Citizens to take action on gov inaction for Great Bear Rainforest protection

It is one of the largest intact tracts of temperate rain forest left
in the world. It was given its evocative name by environmentalists in
the early 1990s because of the white-coloured subspecies of black bear
found there. When the government announced special plans for the area,
it unveiled a $120-million fund, which included $60-million in private
donations, that would be used to manage the forest in a sustainable

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The government’s EBM plan is supposed to be in place by March 31, and
environmental groups are stepping up lobbying efforts this month to
make sure the government sticks to its promise.  The release of the study coincides with a two-week action plan, launched on the weekend, that will see environmentalists holding  rallies, protests and petition drives opposing old-growth logging and supporting the Great Bear Rainforest plan.

Dr. Holt’s report states that if the Great Bear Rainforest is properly managed, it will not only mitigate climate change by storing CO{-2}, it will help maintain a natural area where species have a better chance of adapting to environmental changes. Government officials have said the in-depth EBM plan is coming, but details have not been released.

In 2006, the B.C. government announced that about two million hectares of the forest would be exempted from logging, with the remaining four million
hectares subject to logging under a special “ecosystem-based management” (EBM) plan that would use a new, lighter-touch form of forestry.

The study states that under EBM logging, enough of the forest will stay untouched that an estimated 108 million tonnes of CO{-2} will remain stored in the standing trees. And that storage vault is secure.

If the area were subject to standard logging, states the report by Rachel Holt, an independent biologist, an estimated 153 million tonnes of CO{-2} would be released into the atmosphere.

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