Forest industry backs accelerated caribou recovery that respects jobs and communities

OTTAWA, Feb. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is telling Environment Canada that it can both fast track caribou conservation and also ensure a prosperous forest  industry. FPAC submitted a brief to the government today, the deadline for public comment on the draft Boreal Caribou Recovery Strategy required under the Species-At-Risk Act.

FPAC members companies have been working in concert with environmental groups through the landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) on conservation measures to protect boreal biodiversity while also ensuring forest sector competitiveness.  A significant component of the CBFA is accelerating action plans to safeguard healthy caribou populations across Canada while ensuring a robust forest sector.

"CBFA signatories are now leaders in caribou action planning and we truly welcome the development of a national recovery strategy for woodland caribou," says the President and CEO of FPAC, Avrim Lazar.  "Forest industry communities rely on the boreal forest so mills can continue to produce lumber, pulp and paper, new emerging bio-products and of course protect hundreds of thousands of jobs.  But we are also committed to working with conservationists to protect the environment."

The member companies and environmental groups belonging to the CBFA agree on such issues as finding solutions that protect existing herds and achieve recovery in highly disturbed ranges; developing a nationally co-ordinated approach on adaptive management and effective monitoring; supporting further scientific research on issues around caribou habitat, and adopting measures that would be socially acceptable and ensure a healthy forest products industry.

The FPAC brief on the recovery strategy refers to the need to respect both economic and ecological outcomes, and it also made technical suggestions in such areas as buffers and the role of fire.

"It won't be easy for industry and environmentalists to agree to all aspects of caribou conservation but we are confident that conservationists and companies can jointly find practical solutions and develop recommendations for moving forward." says Lazar. "In this spirit, we are hoping the federal government will help FPAC members and the CBFA accelerate caribou action planning across Canada.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 240,000 direct jobs across the country.


SOURCE FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Susan Murray
Executive Director, Public Relations
Forest Products Association of Canada
smurray@fpac.ca 613-563-1441 x313
Follow us on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC

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