Last Updated: Feb. 9, 2016 8:40 p.m. EST
Canada moving legislation, protecting 85% of Great Bear Rainforest. Carbon levels expected to decrease with new regrowth.
On February 2, 2016, The Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia had legislation moved to have 85% of it’s land protected. This bill will help limit commercial logging, effectively making 9.1 million acres unavailable for use. Talks have been underway since 2006, although The First Nations group, an organization representing the indigenous groups in Canada, have been leading the fight against the timber companies.
The Great Bear Rainforest is also home to 1,000,000 year-old cedar trees, as well as a plethora of wildlife including a variety of wolves, bears, mountain goats, otters, among others. It is also one of the last unspoiled temperate rain forests, meaning it’s climate is fairly moderate compared to the extremely hot temperatures of tropical rain forests.
Ironically this legislation doesn’t protect bears as much as it does trees. The final deal still allows bear hunting in all parts. This is interesting because this forest is home to the rare “spirit bear”, a sub species of the black bear and coined by the groups of the First Nation.
Regrowing rain forests absorb carbon better than already existing ones. In fact, according to Mark Kinver, environment reporter at BBC News, studies show that newly grown forests take in 11 times as much. These plants require more carbon to grow in their struggle to compete for sunlight and nutrients. With 85% of the land now protected, this new vegetation will help us combat the rising carbon levels brought on by human induced climate change. Furthermore, the remaining 15% not protected is considered old growth and doesn’t consume nearly as much.
While understandably, all environmental legislation must take commercial interests into consideration, this seems to be overall a net positive. The regrowing of vegetation is most opportune in regards to our high carbon levels and while the wildlife might not have gotten the central attention, a win is a win.