1,500 Scientists Worldwide
More than 1,500 highly respected scientists from around the world are calling for the protection of Canada’s Boreal Forest in an open letter to government leaders released May 14.
Scientists from every Canadian province and U.S. state, and 52 different countries, are calling on the Canadian government to preserve a minimum of half of Canada’s Boreal Forest in protected areas while allowing only carefully managed development on the rest, in accordance with the Boreal Conservation Framework, a plan Nature Canada endorsed in 2006.
At 1.3 billion acres, the Canadian Boreal Forest is one of the largest intact forest and wetland ecosystems remaining on earth. It is a major source of North America’s fresh water and home to the some of the planet’s largest populations of wolves, grizzly bears, and woodland caribou. Its vast lakes and rivers offer up fish in abundance and its trees and wetlands provide nesting grounds for billions of songbirds and waterfowl. Hundreds of First Nations communities also depend on the Boreal Forest ecosystem for fish and wildlife.
However, the Boreal Forest is under increasing pressure from logging, mining, and oil and gas operations and only 10 per cent has been protected to date, far less than what is scientifically recognized as necessary to sustain the ecosystem over time.
"The extraordinary level of support expressed in this letter demonstrates the global ecological importance of Canada’s Boreal Forest and the urgent need for Canada to protect it," said David Schindler, Killam Memorial Chair and Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. "We are losing so many of the world’s great forests, despite the best efforts of conservationists. Canada’s Boreal Forest offers what may be our last, best chance to do things right, but only if our leaders act decisively and act now." Read the Scientists’ Letter.
The Boreal Forest is the single-largest terrestrial carbon storehouse in the world. The Canadian Boreal Forest alone stores 186 billion tonnes of carbon – equivalent to 27 years of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels.
"In the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, deforestation was identified as a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The Boreal Forest stores large quantities of carbon and provides a shield against global warming and critical habitat for countless species of birds, fish and wildlife," said Dr. Terry Root, Stanford University Professor and author of multiple Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. "The world’s scientists urge Canada to take action now by implementing the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework."
Nature Canada is among several conservation groups who have endorsed the Boreal Conservation Framework, an alliance of conservation groups, First Nations, and leading Canadian companies. Headed by the Canadian Boreal Initiative, the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework’s vision is to sustain the ecological and cultural integrity of the Canadian Boreal Forest region, in perpetuity. As a member of the Framework, Nature Canada is committed to the national vision and to taking action on behalf of our members to protect the Boreal.