The Great Bear Rainforest was the largest forest conservation project showcased today at a special ceremony by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Initiative.
With the goal of conserving forests for future generations, 20 Commonwealth countries had projects recognized – ranging in size from a 2.4-hectare site in Antigua and Barbuda, to the 6.4-million-hectare Great Bear Rainforest on B.C.’s central and north coast. The Great Bear Rainforest is the only project from Canada to be recognized to date under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Initiative.
Premier Clark was joined by Canada’s High Commissioner to the U.K. as well as high commissioners and leaders from the 19 other countries.
As a lasting legacy, the Province is creating the $1-million Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust. Funds will support the development of teacher and student resources, raising public awareness of this unique area, resource management practices and ongoing research.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was launched in 2015 with the goal of uniting the Commonwealth’s 52 members in conserving forests for future generations. The initiative, in The Queen’s name, will raise the awareness of the Commonwealth’s 2.3 billion citizens of the value of saving forests and facilitate knowledge exchange between Commonwealth members, sharing best practices and creating new, collaborative initiatives for forest conservation.
Premier Christy Clark –
“All British Columbians have a stake in protecting the Great Bear Rainforest – we consider it our gift to the world. It was an honour to represent the province and have our efforts and approach honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.”
- Agreements were reached between the Province of B.C., Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council for management of the Great Bear Rainforest, based on recommendations from three environmental groups (Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and Stand) and five forest companies (BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, Interfor and Western Forest Products).
The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy: www.queenscommonwealthcanopy.org
More information about the Great Bear Rainforest and how the public can get involved is available online at: www.gov.bc.ca/greatbearrainforest
A backgrounder listing all the forest conservation projects recognized by The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy follows.
Stephen SmartPress Secretary
Office of the Premier
The following forest conservation projects were recognized at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. This list is courtesy of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Initiative: www.queenscommonwealthcanopy.org
Antigua and Barbuda
A 2.4-hectare site at Victoria Park Botanical Gardens is to be revitalised and developed into an accessible urban green space.
The 20 Million Trees Programme is a community project to plant 20 million trees by 2020, to re-establish green corridors and urban forests on public and private land.
The Maya 2020 Project, Chiquibul National Park, a collaboration between Belize and the U.K., has the aim of halting all illegal deforestation and degradation within the park by 2020.
The Great Bear Rainforest – an iconic and globally significant area covering 6.4 million hectares along the central and north coast of British Columbia, home to a quarter of the earth’s temperate rainforest and 26 separate First Nations.
The Dolphin Head Forest Reserve consists of approximately 1,167 ha, covering six forest estates in the north-western part of Jamaica.
Dedication of the Emalu Forest Conservation Area (7,400 ha) and Colo-i-Suva Forest Park (92 ha), which contains native flora and fauna, sites of archaeological and historic interest, ecological systems, geological features and other natural phenomena of special scientific.
The revitalization of a natural woodland area in the environs of Verdala Palace, including the reintroduction of locally extinct flora.
Dedication of five sites contributing to the national plan to increase quality native forest cover from 2% to 12.5% by 2020 - Le Pouce Nature Reserve (69 ha), Ilot Gabriel Nature Reserve (42 ha), Vallée d’Osterlog Endemic Garden (275 ha), Black River Gorges National Park (600 ha), The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden (37 ha).
The N/a’an ku sê Forest Conservation Revegetation Project will establish an economically viable and ecologically sustainable nursery that utilizes recycled water and solar energy to propagate and plant native trees and revegetate degraded landscapes in Namibia.
The Queen Elizabeth II National Trust will create no less than 43 QCC covenants by 2018 to secure long-term protection of natural and cultural features including native forest remnants, wetlands, high country, threatened species habitats and arboretums on private land.
Papua New Guinea
The Orangerie Bay community partnership, situated in Milne Bay Province, eastern Papua New Guinea, works alongside the villages of Gadaisu, Godidi and Kaifouna to protect 60,000 ha of rainforest through community intervention, support and engagement.
Papua New Guinea/Australia
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research has commissioned a collaborative, four-year forestry research project to identify how community forestry in Papua New Guinea can be enhanced to achieve better economic, social and environmental outcomes. Its activities currently focus in three areas: the Eastern Highlands, the Ramu-Markham valleys and the Madang region.
Saint Christopher (Kitts) and Nevis
The Central Forest Reserve National Park (CFRNP). The last remaining area of tropical forest on the Island of St. Kitts and consists of the land area from 304-metre elevation and above – a total of 5,060 hectares or about 25% of the total land area of St. Kitts.
The Castries Water Works Reserve comprises a total area of 1,393 ha. It performs essential functions in safe-guarding and regulating water supply, preventing soil erosion and landslides, and supporting present and future renewable supply of fuel, timber and non-timber products and a number of other very important ecosystem services.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The Vermont Nature Trails are set in a reserve the covers almost 4,450 ha, which has been set aside to preserve the St. Vincent Parrot and its rainforest habitat.
A programme to plant 20,000 trees over 2016-17 to restore and rehabilitate degraded forests land area, resulting from forest fires on both Mahe and Praslin islands, and plant endemic species to reinforce their population within the islands.
A six-hectare forest fragment within the Singapore Botanical Gardens, Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and 163 ha of The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – a treasured home for Singapore’s biodiversity which contains about 40% of the country’s native flora and land fauna.
The National Forest is a wooded landscape across 51,800 ha of central England. 60% of the forest’s woodlands are now under active management with the aim of achieving 80% under management by 2020. Continued forest creation aims to increase connectivity of habitats to increase the resilience of the forest to climate change and other pressures.
Epping Forest (2,475 ha) is an ancient woodland, stretching 12 miles from east London to just north of Epping in Essex.
Brunei, Sri Lanka and Zambia have also committed projects under the Initiative.