Largest Rainforest Conservation Measure in North American History Announced

US Consumers' and Corporations' Actions Key Factor in the Protection of Great

Bear Rainforest



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from Rainforest Action Network, NRDC and ForestEthics

    SAN FRANCISCO, and WASHINGTON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the
 government of British Columbia, in coordination with environmental
 organizations, logging companies, and First Nations, announced the largest
 rainforest conservation measure in North American history.  Some 3.5 million
 acres -- an area four times the size of Rhode Island -- of ancient rainforests
 will be immediately protected or put into deferral.  This region, referred to
 as the "Great Bear Rainforest," is a wildlife hot spot and is considered one
 of North America's biological gems.
     The agreement culminates what has at times been a contentious and highly
 confrontational dialogue, but represents a rare example of successful
 collaboration among industry, environmentalists, native peoples, rural
 communities, and government.
     The consensus agreement package contains a combination of protected areas
 and deferrals amounting to more than 3.5 million acres, plus a new
 ecosystem-based approach to planning, an independent body of scientists and
 economists, government to government protocols, and a "managing change plan"
 for economic diversification.
     ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network, and the Natural Resources Defense
 Council (NRDC) have targeted U.S. customers of the B.C. logging industry in a
 successful effort to transform the wood product marketplace, and stem the tide
 of wood from ancient rainforests.  Pressure has also come from major customers
 in Europe and Japan.
     Forest protection organizations commenting on today's announcement called
 on concerned U.S. corporations to help ensure that as the plan is implemented
 over the next two years, that it translates into real protection for the
 remaining intact rainforest valleys and the region's biodiversity.
     The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest contiguous temperate rainforest
 left in the world.  It is home to extremely rare and endangered wildlife
 including white spirit bears, grizzly bears, salmon and eagles.  Despite its
 ecological and recreational value, nearly every intact watershed on the B.C.
 coast had been slated for road building or clearcut logging over the next
 decade.
     Dozens of Fortune 500 companies -- including Kinko's, Nike, 3M and
 Starbucks -- and hundreds of smaller U.S. companies have pledged to avoid
 buying products derived from the destruction of ancient forests.  After being
 a target of a two-year international campaign, Home Depot, the world's largest
 retailer of wood, pledged to phase out purchases from endangered regions by
 2002.  Lowe's, another home improvement giant, went even further by announcing
 an immediate ban on wood from the Great Bear Rainforest.
     NRDC recently named the Great Bear Rainforest one of twelve threatened
 BioGems in North and Central America.  The BioGems initiative targets
 wildlands of exceptional natural values that are threatened with destruction.
 A special website, www.SaveBioGems.org, was set up to give people the
 opportunity to take direct action to protect BioGems with the click of a
 mouse.
 
 

SOURCE Rainforest Action Network, NRDC and ForestEthics
    SAN FRANCISCO, and WASHINGTON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the
 government of British Columbia, in coordination with environmental
 organizations, logging companies, and First Nations, announced the largest
 rainforest conservation measure in North American history.  Some 3.5 million
 acres -- an area four times the size of Rhode Island -- of ancient rainforests
 will be immediately protected or put into deferral.  This region, referred to
 as the "Great Bear Rainforest," is a wildlife hot spot and is considered one
 of North America's biological gems.
     The agreement culminates what has at times been a contentious and highly
 confrontational dialogue, but represents a rare example of successful
 collaboration among industry, environmentalists, native peoples, rural
 communities, and government.
     The consensus agreement package contains a combination of protected areas
 and deferrals amounting to more than 3.5 million acres, plus a new
 ecosystem-based approach to planning, an independent body of scientists and
 economists, government to government protocols, and a "managing change plan"
 for economic diversification.
     ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network, and the Natural Resources Defense
 Council (NRDC) have targeted U.S. customers of the B.C. logging industry in a
 successful effort to transform the wood product marketplace, and stem the tide
 of wood from ancient rainforests.  Pressure has also come from major customers
 in Europe and Japan.
     Forest protection organizations commenting on today's announcement called
 on concerned U.S. corporations to help ensure that as the plan is implemented
 over the next two years, that it translates into real protection for the
 remaining intact rainforest valleys and the region's biodiversity.
     The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest contiguous temperate rainforest
 left in the world.  It is home to extremely rare and endangered wildlife
 including white spirit bears, grizzly bears, salmon and eagles.  Despite its
 ecological and recreational value, nearly every intact watershed on the B.C.
 coast had been slated for road building or clearcut logging over the next
 decade.
     Dozens of Fortune 500 companies -- including Kinko's, Nike, 3M and
 Starbucks -- and hundreds of smaller U.S. companies have pledged to avoid
 buying products derived from the destruction of ancient forests.  After being
 a target of a two-year international campaign, Home Depot, the world's largest
 retailer of wood, pledged to phase out purchases from endangered regions by
 2002.  Lowe's, another home improvement giant, went even further by announcing
 an immediate ban on wood from the Great Bear Rainforest.
     NRDC recently named the Great Bear Rainforest one of twelve threatened
 BioGems in North and Central America.  The BioGems initiative targets
 wildlands of exceptional natural values that are threatened with destruction.
 A special website, www.SaveBioGems.org, was set up to give people the
 opportunity to take direct action to protect BioGems with the click of a
 mouse.
 
 SOURCE  Rainforest Action Network, NRDC and ForestEthics