The Great Bear Rainforest is part of the largest coastal temperate rainforest remaining on Earth and supports some of the oldest surviving cultures in the Western Hemisphere. The lands and waters support wolves, six million migratory birds, grizzly bears, black bears, rare white Spirit bears and First Nations’ communities that have lived here for more than 10,000 years.

It is now also a global model for conservation. An historic public-private partnership has secured $120 million for conservation efforts and sustainable enterprises.

“Today we have secured the largest integrated conservation investment package in North American history” said Scott Paul of Greenpeace. “Once again all eyes are on Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest and our innovative, precedent-setting approach to protecting the environment.”

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP SECURES $120 MILLION FOR THE 21 MILLION ACRE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST

$120 Million to Fund Great Bear Conservation Efforts and Sustainable Enterprises

January 21, 2007, Vancouver, International — At a ceremony today in Vancouver, the Canadian federal government committed $30 million (CAD), the British Columbian government committed $30 (CAD) million and the philanthropic community committed $60 million (CAD). The agreement in the Great Bear Rainforest – and the unprecedented consensus among industry, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club of Canada-BC Chapter, First Nations, governments and local communities that made it possible – marks a watershed event in modern conservation and recognizes that a sustainable economy is vital to a sustainable environment.

Private funds will flow to a conservation endowment fund, dedicated solely to conservation management, science and stewardship jobs in First Nations’ communities. Public funds will be used for investments in ecologically-sustainable business ventures within First Nations’ territories or communities.

“Today we have secured the largest integrated conservation investment package in North American history” said Scott Paul of Greenpeace. “Once again all eyes are on Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest and our innovative, precedent-setting approach to protecting the environment.”

The Great Bear Rainforest is part of the largest coastal temperate rainforest remaining on Earth and supports some of the oldest surviving cultures in the Western Hemisphere. The lands and waters support wolves, six million migratory birds, grizzly bears, black bears, rare white Spirit bears and First Nations’ communities that have lived here for more than 10,000 years.

“Today’s announcement completes the holistic model of conservation in the Great Bear Rainforest,” said Lisa Matthaus, Campaigns Director, Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter. “Coastal communities can finally move forward to create meaningful, sustainable solutions for their people and the environment they depend upon.”

The funding announcement supports agreements to create a lasting model of conservation in the Great Bear Rainforest by formally protecting 5 million acres from logging and placing more than 19 million acres under strict land management guidelines called ecosystem based management by 2009. Making these agreements real on the ground and shifting logging practices remains the next big challenge.

“The challenges of our age require innovative approaches that place a premium on a healthy environment. With today’s announcement we’re proving that conservation can attract investment and actually support jobs that won't threaten the living systems that we depend upon,” said Merran Smith, BC Coast Program Director, ForestEthics.

For the last two years, The Nature Conservancy and a core group of U.S. and Canadian foundations including The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Wilburforce Foundation and Tides Canada Foundation have together raised more than $58 million (USD) in private, philanthropic funding to conserve the Great Bear Rainforest.

“The economic challenges facing the people of the Great Bear Rainforest are as important to address as the area’s conservation challenges,” said Steve McCormick, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Protected areas are vital to the future of the Great Bear Rainforest, yet they alone are not enough to ensure the long-term survival of the rainforest and the human and natural communities within it. The establishment of this public-private fund is a global model of what conservation must become - an inherent part of economies, environments and cultures.”

From - greenpeace.org