July 14, 2008
One of the World’s Largest Forest Protection Commitments Announced Today in Canada
TORONTO, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- ForestEthics commended the Ontario government's announcement today that it will protect 50 per cent (55 million acres/22.5 million hectares) of Ontario's vast Northern Boreal Forest from industrial development. This commitment will secure more than 50 billion tons of stored carbon, help species and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate, and provide habitat for the threatened woodland caribou.
The area to be protected is half the size of California, or six times the size of Belgium.
"The government of Ontario's commitment to protect the Northern Boreal Forest raises the bar for environmental protection across Canada and around the world," said Todd Paglia, executive director of ForestEthics. "We applaud this bold action and hope that other governments will follow - the ecological and economic security of future generations depends on it."
ForestEthics has worked toward this solution for three years using tactics including: raising the profile of Ontario's Boreal Forest worldwide, reaching out to more than 500 wood and paper customers including Limited Brands, Staples and Lowes, and supporting First Nations opposed to mining on their traditional territory. ForestEthics has been campaigning to protect Endangered Forests in Canada's Boreal since 2002. The organization is a member of the Boreal Leadership Council and has worked with the International Boreal Conservation Campaign, an initiative of the Pew Environment Group and others, to promote the conservation of at least half of Canada's Boreal forest.
Today's announcement includes a commitment to change Ontario's outdated Mining Act by the end of this year. Promised reforms include ensuring mining development takes place only with First Nation consent and recognizing the leading role communities will have in land use planning. The government also agreed not to approve new mines or logging until land use plans are complete.
Ontario's Northern Boreal is part of the largest intact forest left in Canada, with 28 First Nation communities, only two operating mines, and few roads. It is home to caribou, wolverine, lake sturgeon and polar bear - all of which are under threat.
From here, ForestEthics will be working with the Ontario government and others to ensure caribou and the Northern Boreal Forest are indeed protected, and will also be pushing for protection in the southern Boreal Forest, where caribou are threatened by logging.
Visit http://www.forestethics.org/ for more information.
CONTACT: Kristi Chester Vance, ForestEthics, (415) 902-5885