High Risk Areas in the Great Bear Rainforest Require Action

    One Year Left to Go

    VANCOUVER, March 31 /CNW/ - A larger than life reminder is being unveiled
today to remind us all that there is only one year left to fulfil the promise
to protect the Great Bear Rainforest, a landmark promise made two years ago
after a historic agreement was reached between environmentalists, logging
companies, First Nations communities and British Columbia's Premier Gordon
    ForestEthics, Sierra Club BC and Greenpeace have collectively launched a
billboard campaign that counts down the 12 remaining months to fulfil the
Great Bear Rainforest Agreements by March 31, 2009.
    "The world is watching to ensure British Columbia makes good on its
promises to protect the largest tract of ancient temperate rainforest in the
world," said Valerie Langer, ForestEthics.
    The unveiling of the billboard, set along the busy stretch of highway to
the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria, coincides with the release of new
scientific analysis that shows critical ecosystems are at high risk in the
Great Bear Rainforest. The data shows a clear gap between the current state of
conservation and full ecosystem health for the region.
    At stake are iconic areas of the Great Bear Rainforest where the tallest
trees grow. The Province must initiate a regional plan to ensure conservation
of these critical ecosystems. Without this plan the 2006 Great Bear Rainforest
Agreements cannot be successful.
    "The gap is clear, between Great Bear Rainforest commitments from 2006
and where we are now," says Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC. "The proof of
success will be if the government has addressed this gap by March 31st, 2009."

    The increased level of concern arises from the following:

    -   The scientific analysis showing that the new protected areas and
        first suite of new logging rules still leave critical ecosystems in
        the Great Bear Rainforest at high risk.
    -   Secure funding for the independent science to guide progress was not
        allocated in last month's provincial budget.
    -   Two years has gone by without completing legislation to protect one
        third of the region (2.1 million ha).
    -   There has been little progress in working out an overall regional
        plan to ensure ecological integrity and human wellbeing.

    The Great Bear Rainforest, at 6.4 million hectares, is the largest tract
of ancient temperate rainforest in the world and is home to the rare white
Spirit Bear, Grizzlies and rich runs of salmon.
    "Building a regional plan to ensure conservation is still possible within
a year, but at this stage in the game, it will require a very dedicated effort
by decision makers because the clock is ticking," says Amanda Carr,
    The analysis and billboard image can be accessed at:

For further information:

For further information: Amanda Carr, Greenpeace, (604) 839-8760; Jens
Wieting, Sierra Club BC, (250) 889-9605; Valerie Langer, ForestEthics, (604)

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