*NEWS*DEAL PROTECTS CANADA RAINFOREST

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*NEWS*DEAL PROTECTS CANADA RAINFOREST

 user 2006-02-08 at 9:16:00 am Views: 56
  • #14169

    Deal protects Canada rainforest
    Canada’s
    province of British Columbia has announced plans to protect a huge
    swathe of Pacific Coast rainforest, known as the Amazon of the North.

    The forest is home to a rare white bear species and is the ancestral land of several indigenous Canadian tribes.
    The
    deal will save a vast area of forest for wildlife, while allowing
    sustainable logging in other parts.The settlement between tribes,
    loggers and environmentalists is being hailed as an example for other
    countries.The land covered by the Great Bear Rainforest is huge. At
    64,000 sq-km (25,000 sq-mile), it is about twice the size of Belgium.
    It stretches 400km (250 miles) up the Pacific Coast from Vancouver Island all the way north to Alaska.
    Past clashes
    It has seen frequent disputes in recent years between the lumber industry and environmental groups.
    Under
    the new agreement, about a third of the land is being preserved
    completely to protect wildlife in the region, including the Kermode
    bear – a sub-species of black bear with white fur, found only in this
    region – wolves, grizzly bears and wild salmon.
    The rest of the
    region will see some logging and mining but even environmental groups
    say they are satisfied the companies will use sustainable practices
    that will be a model for the rest of the world.
    Local aboriginal
    groups have given their backing to the agreement. They have been
    fighting for a much greater say in land use around their traditional
    territories for decades.
    Provincial Premier Gordon Campbell,
    announcing the agreement alongside native Indian drummers, said: “The
    result is a strong marriage that balances the needs of the environment
    with the need for sustainable jobs and a strong economic future for
    coastal communities.”
    The BBC’s Ian Gunn in Vancouver says this is
    all a far cry from just a few years ago, when environmental groups and
    the logging industry clashed in the same forests with blockades and
    frequent arrests.
    Now both sides say they have an agreement that should settle the matter for good.