After 10 years of tough negotiation, the British Columbian government has finally reached agreement with coastal First Nations over the Great Bear Rainforest.

One-third of the 15.8 million acre rainforest will be protected from logging, while sustainable forestry practices will be required in the remaining area.

The deal, which was also agreed by a coalition of four environmental groups, is being hailed as a global model of sustainability which could be applied to other important forests such as the Amazon.

Merran Smith, ForestEthics’s BC coast programme director, said: “This rainforest agreement provides a real world example of how people and wilderness can prosper together. And this is just the beginning.”

Environmental group ForestEthics and its environmental partners have raised C$60m to fund a resource-use plan, which they now hope will be matched by federal and provincial governments to support a new kind of economy in the region.

The plan will establish new protected areas and parks, areas where First Nations interests will take priority, and ecologically sound management principles that take into account social and economic interests.

Logging was previously allowed in the entire rainforest.