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Photo: A new era for forestry in Canada

Vast areas of Canada's boreal forest will be protected by the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (Credit: Jode Roberts).

The David Suzuki Foundation has joined an unprecedented coalition of forestry companies and environmental groups to unveil the landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, one of the largest forest conservation agreements in history.

The Agreement covers an area of more than 70 million hectares of public lands — an area larger than the entire Province of Alberta — and when fully implemented will permanently protect vast areas of Canada's treasured Boreal Forest, stretching from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Moratorium on Logging in the Boreal

The forestry companies have committed to immediately stopping all logging on 30 million hectares of caribou habitat in the Boreal forest for the next three years, and to adopt sustainable forestry practices in the remaining forests.

In return, the environmental groups will support the industry's exciting transition to sustainability and will cease campaigns urging consumers not to buy products from the companies.

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A Transition to Sustainable Forestry

The Agreement ensures that essential supplies of timber for pulp and paper mills are maintained in the short term and will provide an opportunity for the companies and northern communities to gain a competitive market advantage by becoming the world leaders in sustainable forestry.

The moratorium on logging will allow time for the development of rigorous science-based plan to complete a network of protected areas in the Boreal Forest — the largest intact forest left on the planet — and recover imperiled iconic species like the woodland caribou.

The Boreal Forest

This vast region of lakes, rivers, wetlands, and peat bogs is home to billions of migratory birds and large populations of predators like wolves, grizzly bears, wolverines, and lynx. This wealth of natural capital provides an estimated $93 billion per year in ecological goods and services, by purifying the air and water on which we depend and capturing and storing immense amounts of carbon.

Respecting the rights of Aboriginals and decision-makers

As part of the process, all signatory groups have been meeting with First Nations, provincial governments and local communities across the country to seek their participation in advancing the goals of the Agreement. Participants recognize that First Nations and government agencies are the ultimate decision makers within their jurisdictions and that Aboriginal peoples have constitutionally protected rights that must be respected.

Although the Agreement is voluntary, it outlines a series of milestones that each of the companies and groups must adhere to. The progress made to reach the objectives laid out in the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement will be regularly measured and reported on by an independent auditor.

The Goal of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Our ultimate goal is to protect the biodiversity of Canada's Boreal forest while supporting healthy and diversified forest-based communities across Canada. We want this agreement to position Canada as a world leader in conservation and create a truly sustainable and globally competitive Canadian forest industry.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/wildlife-habitat/projects/habitat-matters/a-new-era-for-forestry-in-canada/

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