Great Bear Rainforest Scientists Letter

For Immediate Release on 14 June 2012

Contacts: Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist and President of Geos Institute, Ashland, Oregon; 541-621-7223 (cell); In Rio: Kyle Gracey, Research Scientist and Science Coordinator, Global Footprint Network

SCIENTISTS AROUND THE WORLD CONCERNED OVER LENGTHY DELAYS TO FULLY IMPLEMENT
THE PROTECTION AGREEMENTS IN THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST

EXPERTS TAKE MESSAGE TO EARTH SUMMIT IN RIO

Rainforest scientists from around the world, supported by prominent experts speaking at the Earth Summit in Rio, today sent a letter to the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, calling on her government to fully implement the agreements to protect the world renowned Great Bear Rainforest – announced more than six years ago.

“Many leaders now view as crucial what is at the core of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements: to protect your environmental assets to secure the long-term wellbeing of your citizens,” said Kyle Gracey, research scientist and science coordinator at Global Footprint Network, who will participate in the Rio negotiations and has been providing policy advice to the preparations for Rio for the past two years. “This self-interested conservation, guided by the best available science, is a common message I hear from governments in the Rio talks. British Columbia has a timely and tremendous opportunity to turn this consensus into action.”

In the letter the fifty-four scientists, from nine countries, emphasized the importance of implementing the agreements within the next year.

“Most of the rare old-growth rainforests outside of the tropics have been logged, making it imperative that we safeguard the Great Bear Rainforest – the largest remaining temperate rainforest of its kind,” said Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist of the Geos Institute and an expert on temperate and boreal rainforests, who initiated the letter. “Scientists are eager to have a model of conservation that can be replicated around the world, and while we have hope with the Great Bear agreement, six years later it remains an unfinished job,” he added.

In the letter, the scientists point out that the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the few remaining large blocks of comparatively unmodified landscapes left on earth. The region includes over a quarter of the Pacific Coastal rainforests of North America that provide habitat for spectacular wildlife like the Spirit Bear and wild salmon runs that are increasingly rare throughout the world. Currently, half of the Great Bear Rainforest remains open to logging, but the scientists’ recommendation built into the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements was to set aside 70 percent of the natural old-growth forest that has yet to be implemented.

View the scientists’ letter.

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