Posted on January 13, 2010 (updated: January 13, 2010)

Report reveals ecological crisis in Ontario’s northern forests

Conservation groups responded to an alarming report released today that highlights a growing ecological crisis in Ontario’s Boreal Forest. The report, released by Global Forest Watch Canada, documents disturbing changes in Ontario’s forests from years of destructive industrial activities which are pushing threatened species including the woodland caribou closer to extinction and setting Ontario on a precariously, unsustainable path. The groups urge Premier McGuinty to heed these warnings and bolster his government’s much anticipated climate change plan with protection of Ontario’s intact Boreal Forest.

“This report is a clarion call,” says Anna Baggio, Director Conservation Land Use Planning of CPAWS Wildlands League, “Here is our opportunity to protect the remaining intact Boreal Forest for caribou and for our grandchildren.”

The report follows an urgent call from a long list of celebrities and conservation groups to protect Ontario’s Boreal Forest to save species and mitigate global warming.

“Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal ecosystems must be an important part of any government’s response to global warming,” says Wendy Francis, Director of Conservation and Science for Ontario Nature. “This report warns us that our remaining intact forests—one of our best hopes for fighting global warming—are clearly under threat.”

It is estimated that more than 200,000 hectares of Ontario’s public forests are logged each year – an area more than three times the size of the entire City of Toronto. By removing the vast amounts of carbon stored in these trees, scientific estimates suggest that these logging activities release the equivalent of 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

“Today’s report underlines the urgent need for an innovative plan for Ontario’s Boreal Forest,” said Sierra Legal Lawyer & Economist, Dr. Anastasia Lintner. “Create sustainable northern economies. Capture carbon. Protect caribou habitat. Require state-of-the-art forest certification. These are the cornerstones to economically sound global warming solutions.”

“Protecting our Boreal Forests must be a key component of any government climate plan,” said ForestEthics’ Boreal Campaigner, Leah Henderson. “Through strong environmental leadership we can capture growing green markets for forest products and protect the earth’s basic ecosystem services – the air we breathe and the water that we drink.”

The following groups support the call for Boreal Forest protection in Ontario: ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Markets Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ontario Nature, Sierra Legal and CPAWS Wildlands League.

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