A Mother Of A Victory For This Rainforest

We’ve been celebrating an enormous win over the past few days. More than one-third of Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest — the largest intact area of temperate rainforest in the world — is officially and legally off-limits to logging. It’s an area half the size of Switzerland.

One person who’s especially jubillant at the news is Tamara Stark. Tamara cut her teeth as a Greenpeace campaigner working to protect this forest.

“It was back in 1997 when we first started working to stop the destruction of the Canadian rainforest, which is amongst the longest-lived forests in the world,” says Tamara. “It contains trees that can grow to be over 1000 years old, with healthy populations of grizzly bears and the white spirit bears also calling it home.”

“Clearcutting, a logging practice that fells trees in a given area, was common practice then, and we’d already lost a lot of the forest when Greenpeace and our allies decided enough was enough. The logging companies were firmly entrenched and not prepared to give up what were some of the most economically valuable forests in the world.”


It was the beginnning of a campaign that lasted over a decade, and involved a number of lawsuits from the logging companies.

“The logging companies sued us a nuimber of times, in lawsuits naming both Greenpeace as well as some of us individually (which really freaked out my mother, I have to say!). At one point, the premier of the province called Greenpeace ‘an enemy of British Columbia’, while at the same time the leading newspaper said we were ‘on the side of the angels’ for stopping the clearcutting.”

After about 5 years of struggle, they finally won a temporary halt to logging the intact rainforest valleys, and a land-use planning process got underway.

“It’s taken another five or six years to produce the best possible scientific analyses and to negotiate with the logging companies and unions to agree to protect large tracts of the rainforest. Greenpeace worked with other environmental groups to raise $120 million to help enable First Nation communities to kick-start a conservation economy as an alternative to logging – something we don’t often do, but found necessary in this case to support the local communities’ development.”

“To the very best of our understanding, this is the most stringent conservation model in the world, and one we hope can be advanced elsewhere – because it’s pretty obvious we still have a lot to do in places such as Indonesia, the Amazon and the Congo! But for the Great Bear Rainforest, today let’s breathe a sigh of relief and savour this moment.”

» Read more of Tamara’s great story about the campaign

  • Peter Gray

    Congratulations !!! We have continuing battles in Australia in trying to obtain government recognition of the need to retain our old-growth forests. The miniscule revenue gained from licences to destroy vast tracts of forests could never cover the expense of “re-aforestation” and is therefore a smokescreen to hide the rape.
    I wish you every success in your fight.

    Peter Gray

  • Elizabeth

    YEAH! Another victory for the goodies! I grew up in the lower mainland of BC where I witnessed the kind of devestation that human greed and stupidity can get up to. I’ve been concerned about that kind of thing spreading throughout the province as well-especially on the coast and spirit bear county! Ever flown over the coastal ranges or the other ranges between Vancouver and Calgary? Scary! And people overseas think that canadian governments follow the best practice in environmental stewardship!

    I live in Australia now and there are plenty of examples to get the blood boiling over here. However, there has also been some victories lately with a significant win over some logging companies in Tasmania and some other wise decisions regarding the murray-darling system.

    Keep up the fight! Good will overcome evil in this world!