Great Bear Rainforest now 85 percent protected from logging

February 2, 2016, 12:52 p.m.
The Great Bear Rainforest is home to a rare subspecies of black bear, the Kermode bear or spirit bear.
Photo: Maximilian Helm/Flickr CC

The Kermode bear, also known as the spirit bear, is a rare subspecies of black bear. It has white fur, and is found only in a tiny area of British Columbia. This is just one of the many important species that call the Great Bear Rainforest home, and is just one of the many species that will now be protected under a landmark deal that bans logging from 85 percent of the forest.

BBC reports, "The province is expected to sign the new measures — which have been drafted after 10 years of often tense negotiations between the various concerned parties — into law in the spring. The agreement bans logging in 85 percent of the rainforest and brings an end to hunting of the grizzly bear within First Nations territories. It also abolishes hunting in the region for the spirit bear, also known as the Kermode bear. The remaining 15 percent of the ancient forest will be subject to stringent standards applied elsewhere in North America for commercial logging. The deal has been ratified by 26 aboriginal tribes that live alongside British Columbia's coast, several environmental groups and five forestry companies."

The deal is a huge step forward in ensuring the long-term protection of a special and ecologically important place. The forest is also home to an entirely unique population of wolves, called sea wolves, which is the only population of wolves to rely almost exclusively on the ocean and coastal landscape for food.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.