The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement
As of February 1, 2016, The Great Bear Rainforest is officially 85% protected. A collection of environmental groups have been battling the upward fight for well over a decade to protect the area. First Nations, Government, and Industry have finally come to an agreement, which entitles First Nations to be a bigger part of the decision-making for resource management of the area. Once under great threat of logging, this area may be given the opportunity to continue to thrive.
The Great Bear Rainforest is considered the last great temperate rainforest on Earth. The 64,000 square kilometers of pristine ancient coastal forest boasts some of Canada’s largest Sitka Spruce and Western Red Cedar trees, some dating more than 1000 years old.
This area of incredibly diverse terrain supports more biomass than anywhere else on the planet. The thriving life and symbiotic relationships abound between flora and fauna run rich within its roots.
The varied topography of the area ranges from high mountain slopes to fjords, estuaries, intertidal pools and meadows interspersed with lush ancient forests. It is home to an even wider range of species from grizzly bears, Black Bears – including the iconic Spirit bear, a genetic variation of the black bear – salmon, wolves, and a multitude of birds and microspecies on which they feed.
Pacific salmon return en masse every year to spawn in the rivers and streams. The trees of the Great Bear Rainforest are so connected with the salmon, that 80% of the nitrogen found in the giant Sitka Spruce trees, which line the forest streams, comes directly from the salmon decomposing into the soil. Each species plays a vital role in the ecosystem and they are all enmeshed in the same web of life.
It is important to understand the interconnectedness of this diverse area. As Jacque Cousteau once said, “people will protect what they love.” Once you have an understanding of something, you can begin to love it and ultimately want to protect it.
Find out more about our Great Bear Expeditions and experience the Great Bear Rainforest first-hand.