Cutting the Bears Out of the Great Bear Rainforest

by CHRIS GENOVALI

Any day now British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell is scheduled to announce whether or not his Liberal government will ratify land use plans for the north and central coasts of Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact network of coastal temperate rainforest left on the planet.

But wildlife scientists warn that the Great Bear Rainforest agreement won’t protect the "Great Bears" of BC’s north coast. A new study commissioned by Raincoast Conservation Society, "Wayward Course" by Canadian bear biologists Dr. Brian Horejsi and Dr. Barrie Gilbert, shows that 80% of grizzly bear habitat will remain unprotected under the currently proposed land use plan for the north coast.

Horejsi and Gilbert analyzed the protected areas in the Great Bear Rainforest agreement and found that they are woefully inadequate in terms of protecting grizzly habitat. For this reason they are recommending that if Premier Campbell decides to implement the agreement, he needs to significantly expand the protected areas on the north coast in both size and number through the protection of approximately 2025 square kilometers of additional core grizzly habitat. These areas would have to remain roadless, encompass primarily productive habitat consisting of salmon-rich rivers and old growth forests, and be off-limits to trophy hunting.

In their analysis of the proposed north coast protected areas, Horejsi and Gilbert found that:

* Approximately 80% of grizzly habitat in the northern Great Bear Rainforest would still remain threatened with industrial logging, mining and road building if the provincial government implements the current agreement as is.

* Only 4 out of 19 protected areas, that are inhabited by grizzlies in the region, are large enough in size or satisfactorily connected to other areas of suitable habitat to allow this wide-ranging species to persist. The previous New Democratic Party government already protected one of these areas, the Khutzemayteen, nearly 20 years ago.

* Half of the protected areas consist of habitat that is largely unsuitable to grizzlies; areas such as steep slopes, ice fields, and lands fragmented by clearcuts and logging roads.

* Many of the protected areas are completely isolated. Under the agreement, bears attempting to move between these areas will have to use pathways through an unprotected and increasingly industrialized landscape of clearcuts, roads and expanding human settlements.

* The agreement provides far less habitat protection for grizzlies than in the coastal temperate rainforests of neighboring Alaska, where 90% of grizzly habitat is protected under federal roadless rules that effectively maintain the areas core wilderness.

In a region recognized worldwide for its uniquely rare and largely intact mainland and island ecosystems, one would expect that a modern conservation strategy would strongly reflect the findings of the scientific community. The land use proposals for both the central and north coasts fall considerably short of the conservation strategies provided by the Coast Information Team (CIT), the committee of expert scientists that have advised the planning processes. The CIT identified 44% protection as the minimum requirement for maintaining biodiversity in this globally significant region. Even higher levels of protection (as much as 70%) would be necessary to ensure that threats to biodiversity values remain at a low risk in perpetuity.

Additional research conducted by Raincoast scientists on the degree to which the agreement protects wildlife indicates that the agreement fails to protect enough habitat for a plethora of species. Furthermore, as it stands now sport hunting of large carnivores will be allowed in all of the new proposed protected areas. Protection of aquatic habitat would be similarly compromised. In fact, Raincoast’s research shows that salmon, the most important food source of coastal grizzlies, remain at a serious risk of decline from the potential loss of spawning and rearing habitat from logging and other industrial activity; 75% of chum and chinook, 74% of coho, 72% of pink, and 67% of sockeye populations in the Great Bear Rainforest are not protected under the agreement.

So-called Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) is being relied upon to compensate for the low level of protection provided for under the agreement, but there is currently far too much uncertainty as to what EBM consists of and how it will be implemented by logging companies. Designating nearly 70% of the most significant expanse of coastal temperate rainforest on earth as a laboratory for an untested experimental forest management regime and calling it a "safety net" would appear to be an exercise in "faith-based" conservation. Clearcutting, the logging of small salmon-bearing streams and other destructive forestry practices will be permitted on nearly 86% of the most valuable and productive forest sites in the region. These findings, along with those of the CIT, conclude that the land use plans for the central and north coasts are inadequate to protect key wildlife species throughout the Great Bear Rainforest.

["Wayward Course" can be downloaded from the Raincoast website at http://www.raincoast.org]

CHRIS GENOVALI is executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Society and can be reached at: chris@raincoast.org


































CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled "A Saudiless Arabia" by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the "Article"), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the "Website").

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005



 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 03, 2015
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future