Canada's Boreal Forest
The Canadian Boreal forest holds more freshwater than anywhere else on the planet. With its huge carbon storage system, it cleans the air we breathe and regulates our climate. And there's more: this massive forest, which stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic, is home to one-third of North America's songbirds and threatened species, like woodland caribou and wolverine.
Larger than the Brazilian rainforest, the Canadian Boreal forest is essential for preserving the rich variety of life that sustains all of us. So much of a forest's world remains secret to uswe are still discovering plants deep in the trees that provide life-saving medicines. But we do know many things about our forests. For example, we know that the Boreal is a critical home for the woodland caribou, an iconic Canadian species that once roamed much of North America and is now on the verge of extirpation in many parts of Canada.
Millions of acres of Canadian Boreal forest are clearcut each year. The US consumes more than half of all the trees logged in the Borealmany in the form of catalogs and junk mail. As the forest disappears into these disposable products, the habitat for species like woodland caribou disappears as well.
Today, progress is being made to protect Canada's Boreal and its inhabitants. On May 18, 2010, ForestEthics, along with eight other leading environmental organizations and 21 forest products companies, embarked on the largest conservation initiative in history: the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The ambitious initiative commences with a moratorium on all logging across more than 28 million hectares (70 million acres) of rich Boreal forest, as key parties begin long-term conservation planning over 71 million hectares (175 million acres).
The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement seeks to conserve critical Boreal forest land (an area the size of Texas), protect the vulnerable woodland caribou, and implement world-leading forestry practices. While this planning is done, members of the Forest Products Association of Canada will honor a moratorium on logging covering 29 million hectares (71 million acres) of prime caribou habitat - an area the size of New Zealand.
However the work is not finished. Environmental NGOs and industry signatories have been working collaboratively and using an independent science team's advice to develop recommendations for caribou conservation and protected areas planning. We look forward to making positive announcements that new areas have been recommended for caribou conservation and protected areas in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.