Scientists from around the world are calling on the Canadian legislature to strengthen protections for the increasingly endangered Boreal forest. A letter from 1,500 scientists from 50 countries released today warns:
“We are concerned that current conservation planning efforts are insufficient to sustain the ecological integrity of Canada’s Boreal region, one of the most intact ecosystems left in the world. Specifically, the amount of land in protected status within the Canadian Boreal, now at under 10 per cent, is inadequate and must be markedly increased.”
We couldn’t agree more. Canada’s great northern forest, a vast expanse of forests and aquatic islands, is the largest carbon storehouse on Earth, rivaling the Amazon in ecological significance. The area is breeding grounds for over 50% of North America’s birds as well as some of the last healthy populations of the elusive woodland caribou.
The scientists’ letter is timely considering the scope of discussions currently taking place in Ottawa that could determine the fate of the Boreal. Canadian leaders should recognize this as an opportunity to raise the bar by protecting this endangered ecosystem and its inhabitants and not give the extractive industries carte blanche to expand their reach throughout the Boreal.
The ecological, cultural and spiritual value of this forest far exceed the value of resource extraction. The clean air and water it provides, the carbon it stores, and the cultures it sustains cannot be replaced. Lets protect them before it is too late.