Natural Wealth of the Mackenzie Region close to $500 Billion, says report



    OTTAWA, Jan. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - The natural Wealth of the Mackenzie Region
is close to $500 billion, according to a report released today by the Canadian
Boreal Initiative (CBI).
    The report, The Real Wealth of the Mackenzie Region, authored by two
ecological economists Sara Wilson and Mark Anielski, estimates the ecological
goods and services provided by nature in the Mackenzie watershed region to be
10 times the total economic value generated by natural capital extraction
industries and other activities within the watershed.
    "With this new study we have a stronger basis for demonstrating the value
of Boreal conservation in efforts to combat climate change", said Larry Innes,
acting Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative. "Climate change is one of
the most pressing global challenges of our time. Maintaining natural cycles
and enhancing this huge carbon 'bank account' in the Boreal region should be
seen as a part of the solution. The value of the Boreal forest as a
sustainable storehouse of carbon shows that Boreal conservation is critical to
the fight against global warming."
    The study considered 17 ecosystem services, including the value of carbon
uptake and storage. The Mackenzie region is part of the Boreal Forest, the
world's largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon, making it one of the world's
best defenses against global climate change.
    "This report is the first watershed-based natural capital review in
Canada, if not the world", said Mark Anielski. "Canadians want sustainable
development, but we also value clean air, clean water, and the countless other
services that nature provides. Our country has been richly endowed, but these
ecological services do not count towards our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) -
the traditional measure of economic progress. We need to start counting the
value of our natural capital so we can make informed stewardship decisions
that balance broader ecosystem and cultural values with sustainable economic
growth."
    The values of the Mackenzie watershed for the Boreal forest and other
land covers are preliminarily estimated at $448 billion per annum if they were
in pristine condition, that is, undamaged by industrial and human disturbance.
The estimated GDP of the Mackenzie driven mostly by the extraction of mining,
oil, gas, forestry and agricultural sectors watershed was estimated at
$41 billion in 2005.

    Based in Ottawa, CBI brings together diverse partners to create new
solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst by supporting a
variety of on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal by governments, industry,
First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions
and others.

    The executive summary and full report are available on the CBI website:
www.borealcanada.ca




For further information:

For further information: Christine Choury, Director of Communications,
(613) 230-4739, ext 222, Cell: (613) 355-6513; Andrew Dumbrille, Canadian
Boreal Initiative, (613) 762-2525

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Canadian Boreal Initiative

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