Canada's Leading Example for the International Year of Forests

The United Nations has declared 2011, the International Year of Forests. It is a year to reflect, come together and create a plan for the future of forests. Canada began making plans for their forests years ago and their approaches have put them on the forefront of forest conservation. Since the year 2000, 130 acres of Canada’s boreal forests have received protected status.

Ten years ago, the Pew Environmental Group began a long-term initiative to protect Canada’s boreal forests and to support the rights of aboriginal people and communities. In 2003, the Canadian Boreal Forest Conservation framework was drafted by a coalition of aboriginals, conservation organizations and industry. It spelled out a vision that would keep nearly half of Canada’s boreal forests off-limits to industry. It would also limit developments in the remaining forests. This sent a message to the government and the framework gained support. The framework led 50 million acres in the Northwest Territories on the path to being permanently protected.

In 2008, the premiers of Ontario and Quebec pledged that each province would protect half of its northern boreal forests. There is now hope that the 190 million acres of boreal forest in Ontario and Quebec will eventually be made off-limits. Last year, 21 of Canada’s largest logging companies and nine conservation groups proposed the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement to support the protection of more than seventy million acres.

Canada’s approach to protect the world’s largest intact forest has made them a leader in Forest Conservation. They have set an example for other nations to follow.

Nita Michelle

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