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Province will meet Great Bear deadline

The provincial government will announce a long-awaited management plan for the North and Central Coast tomorrow.

The announcement will take place at the provincial legislature in Victoria with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, First Nations, forestry companies and environmental groups that collaborated on the plan. Forest Ethics was one of the groups involved. Its director, Valerie Langer, said the plan offers greater conservation gains that were promised three years ago but wouldn't go into details.

In 2006, the province announced it would protect 2.1 million hectares of coastal temperate rainforest, including about one-third of the Great Bear Rainforest, which is the largest intact, coastal temperate rainforest left in the world.

A comprehensive, ecosystem-based management plan for the region has been in the works for nearly a decade. Environmental groups and industry complained about delays in the process back in 2005.

Last December Langer told the CBC she was worried the province was "getting jitters" about making firm decisions by the March 31, 2009 deadline.

Earlier this month, a report funded by Forest Ethics, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club of B.C., found the forest helps combat climate change by acting as a carbon store.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Hook.

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