Today is National Tree Day, a time for all Canadians to appreciate the great benefits that trees provide us.
Forests are essential to human, animal and plant life – they support the majority of the earth’s biodiversity. As the “lungs of the earth”, forests absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, which helps regulate climate and reduce the effects of global warming. Among other things, forests provide wildlife with a place to live, reduce soil erosion and regulate flooding. They provide people with fuel, timber and medicines, and help people reduce their energy consumption by shading buildings and screening winds.
Since Canada is home to 10% of the world’s forests – forests cover half the Canadian landscape – Canadians have a key role to play in the global effort to conserve and sustainably manage forests.
To mark National Tree Day, there are five actions the Government of Canada could take that would help ensure a healthy future for our country’s forest:
- Make significant progress to adequately represent all Canadian forest regions by forming a network of interconnected parks and other protected areas which includes at least 50% of the Boreal Forest. In forested areas that are not included in this network, we call on the federal government to sustainably manage forest resources, ensuring the ecological and cultural integrity of forests – and their associated wetland areas and watercourses – are maintained.
- Adopt recovery strategies for species at risk living in forests which identify critical habitat, enforce protective measures, and implement timely action plans.
- Reduce emissions from logging by protecting forests in Canada and beyond by continuing to support “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), an initiative under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In addition, adopt meaningful domestic greenhouse gas reduction targets to combat climate change.
- Improve Canadian forestry practices by:
- Ensuring that forestry operations in Canada do not threaten migratory bird populations through the destruction of nests and eggs.
- Adopting a financing mechanism to support the conservation of Canadian migratory birds and their forest habitat in Canada and throughout the western hemisphere
- Increase Canada’s efforts to settle land claims and outstanding treaty issues.