The Great Bear Rainforest in Canada will be protected from logging under a historic deal announced this week. The rainforest covers some 12,000 square miles and is home to animals like the spirit bear (a rare white-furred species) and Pacific salmon, and trees that are up to a thousand years old.
Logging will be completely banned in 85% of the rainforest, BBC news reports. Hunting grizzly bears will be banned on indigenous First Nations lands within the rainforest, and hunting spirit bears will be completely banned throughout the forest. The remaining 15% of the rainforest will be open to loggers but under strict conditions.
"We are stewards of this magnificent land, and today we celebrate what hard work, tenacity, and a strength of purpose will allow us to achieve if we decide to work together," Christie Clark, premier of the Canadian province of British Columbia, told CBC.
After nearly a decade of negotiations, the deal is endorsed by environmental groups, forestry companies, and 26 First Nations tribes.