Six major timber companies in British Columbia are working toward an agreement with enviro groups under which the companies would stay out of certain pristine tracts in the Great Bear Rainforest for the next 18 months if the enviros stopped urging customers to boycott the companies’ products. The two sides, which have long been locked in a bitter struggle over logging along Canada’s Pacific coast, have been secretly negotiating since late last year. Spurred by developments such as Home Depot’s announcement last year that it will sell only sustainably harvested wood by 2002, the timber companies are worried about the market for their lumber. Ultimately, the two sides hope to craft a long-term conservation plan for the region, but they may face opposition from loggers and native communities.