Deal protects huge swath of central B.C. coast from logging

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest has been largely protected from logging in a landmark agreement between aboriginals, forest companies, environmental groups and the government.

The land-sharing deal, 20 years in the making, will protect 85 percent of the world's largest intact temperate rainforest, located about 435 miles northwest of Vancouver.

The Great Bear Rainforest, stretching from the Discovery Islands northwards to Alaska, is 6.4 million hectares (16 million acres), and more than half the region is covered by ancient forests. The agreement ensures 3.1 million hectares (7.7 million acres) of the forests are permanently off limits to logging.

Premier Christy Clark announced the agreement Monday.

The agreement also ends the commercial grizzly bear hunt and protects habitat for the marbled murrelet, northern goshawk and mountain goat.