|13. Februar 2016
|Fakten zum Great Bear Rainforest-Abkommen: Sind tatsächlich 85% der Waldflächen vor Abholzung sicher?
|Mit der endgültigen Verabschiedung des Great Bear Rainforest-Abkommens am 28.01.2016 stellen die drei an den Verhandlungen beteiligten Umweltschutzgruppen Sierra Club BC, Greenpeace Canada und ForestEthics Solutions fest, dass 85% der bewaldeten Fläche des Gebietes des Great Bear Rainforest vor industriellem Holzeinschlag geschützt sei – 3,1 Millionen Hektar Wald, eine Fläche größer als die von Belgien. Die Zahl von 85% fand weite Verbreitung in den Medien. Ian McAllister von Pacific Wild schrieb hingegen in seinem Artikel vom 03.02.2016 mit dem Titel „The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement: Unfiltered“, dass lediglich 38% geschützt seien: „My understanding is that 38% of the region is now formally protected with clear boundaries and management guidelines attached to them. They all prohibit industrial logging but some allow for mining and other industries. As it has been explained to me, the remaining 62% of the GBR has been placed under EBM, an ambitious but nevertheless a new and unproven forest management practice. It should not be confused as a surrogate or replacement for protected areas because it will involve rotational forestry, road building, dry land sorts and a host of other human activities that are not compatible with the true definition and meaning of a protected area.”
Was sind nun die Fakten? In der Great Bear Rainforest Order heißt es unter Punkt 6 (Objectives for Managed Forest and Natural Forest): „(1) Identify and maintain in the order area: (a) an area of Managed Forest of 550.032 hectares that is or will be available for timber harvest; and (b) a Natural Forest area that continues to grow older over time subject to natural disturbance and non-forest tenure activity, and has an area of 3.108.876 hectares.” “Managed Forest” ist definiert als “The area of productive forest that is or will be available for timber harvest”. “Natural Forest” umfasst “The area of productive forest that is not Managed Forest”. Für den schwammigen Begriff “non-forest tenure activity” findet sich keine Definition. Welche Eingriffe in die Natur sich dahinter verstecken, ist relativ offen, Bergbauprojekte und Tourismusvorhaben gehören sicherlich dazu.
Man muss wissen, dass bei dem Postulat, 85% der bewaldeten Fläche des Gebietes des Great Bear Rainforest seien geschützt, leider auch die sogenannten Biodiversity, Tourism and Mining Areas (BMTAs) hinzugerechnet werden mit einer Fläche von über 300.000 Hektar. In diesen Gebieten sind Bergbauaktivitäten mit offensichtlich nicht limitierter Größenordnung erlaubt ebenso der Bau von Erschließungsstraßen, die Errichtung von Rückhaltebecken mit toxischen Bergbaurückständen und Verladerampen. Der Bau von Bergbausiedlungen/Camps ist nicht wirklich geregelt und erscheint möglich. Der Bau von lokalen Flusskraftwerken zur Stromgewinnung z.B. für Bergbauprojekte ist erlaubt, sofern die Kraftwerke nicht an das überregionale Stromnetz angeschlossen werden. Tourismusprojekte wie Luxushotels, Bau von Fishing Lodges, Hubschrauberlandeplätzen, Hafenanlagen für Sportboote etc. erscheinen möglich. Lediglich der kommerzielle Holzeinschlag in den BMTAs ist untersagt, Wald für alle o.g. Projekte darf jedoch abgeholzt werden. Wie dies alles mit dem auch für die BMTAs formulierten Ziel „to conserve ecological values and contribute to the maintenance of species, ecosystems, diversity and ecosystem functions“ zusammenpassen soll, bleibt derzeit noch ein Geheimnis.
Meines Erachtens können die BMTAs nicht vorbehaltlos zu den Schutzgebieten hinzugezählt werden, sie müssten ehrlicherweise hiervon ausgenommen werden. Zu unklar ist ihre Zukunft und niemand weiß derzeit, was nach Bergbau, Flusskraftwerksbau und einer zulässigen Verschandelung durch Tourismusbauten von der Natur in ihnen übrig bleiben wird. Besonders schmerzlich wäre der Verlust an Biodiversität in den BMTAs Banks/Pricipe, K’waal-Ecstall und Porcher, um nur einige zu nennen. Zählt man die BMTA-Flächen nicht zu den Schutzgebieten, so wären nicht 85% der bewaldeten Flächen geschützt, sondern nur ca. 80%.
Jens Wieting, Forest and Climate Campaigner des Sierra Club BC nimmt in einer E-mail vom 07.02.2016 zu den kritischen Stimmen Stellung und nennt weitere Details zum Great Bear Rainforest-Abkommen:
PS: I heard people have concerns about mining not being prohibited in some areas:
About 5% of the region is protected in Biodiversity, Mining, Tourism Areas. Some of the 8 new protected areas could also become BMTAs. The primary purpose of this designation is to safeguard ecological and cultural values. Mining and Tourism are not prohibited, if they don’t undermine the primary purpose of these areas. But we are not aware of any proposals for mining projects. There are stakes for exploration in some areas (which could result in compensation issues) but that doesn’t mean that any mining activity will actually happen.
- “First Nations have revitalized their governance and economic relationships with the province (both for forestry and carbon revenues and land management), there are new agreements between First Nations and companies etc.
Protected Areas increase from 136 to 144 protected areas (from 2.1 to 2.4 million hectares, 6 of the 8 new protected areas will be become either Conservancies or Biodiversity, Mining, Tourism Areas - more on designations below - depending on final decision by Province and First Nations, in the interim they are Special Forest Management Areas, 2 will remain as those, 100% off-limits to commercial logging).
42 percent of the rainforest will be in protected areas (38% of the landmass), another 43% is off-limits across the remainder of the region as a result of targets that companies are legally required to respect for forest off-limits to logging in form of landscape level reserves. In nine priority landscape units restoration reserves need to be finalized, which will set 90,000 hectares of forest set aside with additional level of spatial certainty. The 85% of the forested land base off-limits to logging will be under a new legal designation called Natural Forest (whereas previously industrial logging could happen anywhere outside of the legislated protected areas on the land base)
For context: total GBR land base 6.4 million ha, forest area: 3.65 million hectares, forest area that will remain available for logging: 15%, land base area that will remain available for logging: less than 9%.
Logging will be limited to 15% of the forested landbase under a new legal designation called ‘Managed Forest’ which is, in total, 550,000 ha (technically a reduction of the THLB, more importantly this eliminates logging that used to happen in non-THLB, where up to 40% of all logging activity happened)
the rate of cut in the GBR will go down to 2.5 million m3 (40% reduction compared to 2006/pre-EBM, 19% less compared to 2009 EBM objectives), a combination of old-growth and second-growth. The agreements are essentially resulting in a cap for old-growth still available for logging. Industry estimates harvesting of 0.1% of the GBR forest portion area annually.
Legal loopholes got closed and land use objectives and the associated policies have been improved (landscape reserve designs now legally required, much improved old-growth definition, cultural objectives, red and blue listed ecosystems, new bear dens objective etc.)
Forestry is going to be done in a more cooperative and accountable fashion that breaks down the silos between companies, First Nations and provincial government
Solutions worked through with TimberWest (major operator in the region with a history of opposing EBM implementation) provide for greater certainty that endangered rainforest will be set aside and higher bar logging practices applied in the southernmost GBR. Just one example where important work needs to continue, especially in those smaller areas where a lot of logging happened, few ecological values remain intact and restoration work must happen.
There will be greater ongoing transparency through annual reporting and monitoring approaches
More info on protected area types:
Conservancies differ from other parks because they prioritize the protection of biological diversity and First Nations values related to social, ceremonial and cultural uses. First Nations are able to pursue low-impact economic activities that do not undermine ecological values in conservancies. Commercial logging, mining, and hydroelectric power generation are prohibited in these areas (except local run-of-river projects to service nearby communities).
Biodiversity, Mining and Tourism Areas (BMTA) contribute to the conservation of species by limiting the range of land uses within these zones. Commercial timber harvesting and commercial hydro-electric power projects are prohibited. Other resource activities and land uses, like mining and tourism, are permitted, subject to existing regulations and legislation and if they can meet ecological and cultural objectives of BMTAs.“
(Mitteilung von Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC)
Valerie Langer, Direktorin der BC Forest Campaigns, von Forest Ethics Solutions, rechnet die BMTAs ebenfalls zu den Schutzgebieten. Ihr Artikel mit dem Titel „85% Means 85% - Get the Facts Straight on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement“ vom 05.02.2016 ist nachfolgend für Sie wiedergegeben:
“The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement strengthens the position of Native People and legally prevents logging on 85% of the massive temperate rainforest.
On February 1, 2016, Coastal First Nations, Nanwakolas Council (First Nations) and the Province of British Columbia announced the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement.
ForestEthics and our partners Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC strongly support the plan. For a decade we worked alongside First Nations, the Province and five logging companies to develop a conservation package that would put people and the environment first. And while the scope of conservation is very significant, it is also rather complicated.
For more than a century protecting wildlands has meant setting up parks. But that history includes a darker side, one where Native Peoples are excluded from their homes or territorial lands. The term “conservation refugees” was coined to describe people removed from parks because of the faulty belief that healthy ecology means no human communities. To native people who have inhabited rainforests and other wild areas for milenia, this belief is as dangerous as destruction or industrialization of the forest. Across the globe natural forest is directly correlated with Indigenous people -- where First Nations live on their ancestral lands, forests and other wildlands remain.
For the past 10 years we worked closely with First Nations to develop legal conservation approaches and designations that respect Indigenous rights and the needs of their communities. Different designations, each with its own governing principles were developed, but all share one common trait -- these areas cannot be logged. So it is through this variety of designations that the full 85% of the forested land-base in the Great Bear is legally off limits to logging. And let’s not forget that the remaining 15% will only be logged subject to the the most stringent commercial logging rules in North America.
Some people have said only 38% is legally off limits to logging -- those people are simply wrong. The legal requirement for 85% (3.1 million hectares) can be found in The Legal Order on the Provincial website (Part 1; Section 6; page 10). …
Here is a cheat sheet on the conservation and advancements for First Nations that are included in the Great Bear Agreement:
Strengthened their governance and economic relationships with the province (for forestry and carbon revenues and other community well being measures).
Identified areas they want protected and not protected and jointly developed and approved the out the new logging rules with the province.
8 new protected areas including (295,000 ha). Brings total to 38% of the landmass (41% of Great Bear Rainforest forested landbase).
New Legal Designations:
Managed Forest - new legal designation = 15% of the total forest (550,000 ha) where LOGGING ALLOWED.
Natural Forest - new legal designation = 85% of the total forest (3.1 million ha) is OFF LIMITS TO LOGGING (this includes the protected areas and the conservation targets for every ecosystem type in the Great Bear Rainforest which are now legally required to be maintained under the new Land Use Order).
Improved Forest Management
Conservation Targets - legal requirement to maintain conservation targets of minimum 70% of each ecosystem type (except for 30,000 ha).
Restorations Zones - 9 new Restorations Zones (90,000 ha) in the very south (which has been heavily logged) to recuperate old forest to 30% where currently there is less than 10% old growth forest.
Landscape Reserves - requirement to map where conservation targets will be achieved.
Annual Allowable Cut - big reduction (~40% reduction since pre Ecosystem Based Management. of that 19% just achieved Feb 1st).
GBR Act - The AAC will be entrenched in a new GBR Act that will be legislated in the spring session.
Close Loopholes - loopholes from prior Land Use Orders have been closed and Land Use Objectives and the associated policy has been improved (bear dens, cultural objectives, Reserve Design requirements, endangered and threatened ecosystem requirements and definition of old forest etc.).
Accountability - Forestry is going to be done in a new, more cooperative and accountable fashion.
Transparency - There will be greater transparency for the general public about how forestry occurs including an annual report out on how conservation targets were met.
The Trophy bear hunt is still allowed (despite the Premier saying otherwise during a press conference). We strongly support abolishing this barbaric practice.”
© Valerie Langer, Director of BC Forest Campaigns, ForestEthics Solutions