Nature is gaining ground: 7% (17,800 km2) of Québec's territory will be protected, primarily in the north



    JACQUES-CARTIER PARK, QC, Oct. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Another milestone has
been reached today in protecting Québec's natural heritage. An additional 1%
of the province has been protected, and Québec is slowly but surely ensuring
its green future. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (SNAP Québec),
Nature Québec and the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) congratulate the Québec
government for its decision to add 17,800 km2, 35 times the size of the island
of Montreal, to its protected areas, and hope that it will continue to work on
protecting our wilderness areas.

    On the right track

    The announcement that the territories of the George River and the
National Parks Reserves Monts-Pyramides, Collines-Ondulées and
Baie-aux-Feuilles will be protected represents important news for our natural
capital. The groups salute the sustained efforts of the Ministère du
Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP) at a time when
pressure is high and resources are limited. They nevertheless admit that there
remains a lot to be done to protect our natural resources for the benefit of
future generations.
    Conserving such abundant ecosystems as the majestic George River, Québec
will ensure the preservation of Aborginal ancestral heritage and culture and
protection of one of the world's largest herds of caribou. "The Government is
taking the first step to protect barren-ground caribou which, we hope, will
lead to the protection of woodland caribou in the Boreal region, a species
that is vulnerable in Québec and threatened in Canada," explains Christian
Simard, executive director of Nature Québec.
    When the next goal of 8% (as promised three years ago) is attained, the
groups urge the adoption of a complementary vision aimed at protecting our
wilderness for the future. This includes conducting a gap analysis to
determine what is missing to create a conservation network rather than
isolated parcels of protected lands, in particular in the southern part of the
province where logging is underway. "As for the northern part of the province,
beyond the northern tree cutting limit, we must absolutely implement an
approach based on the realities of the 21st Century, that is
conservation-based sustainable development on at least half of the territory
and ensuring Aboriginal leadership," adds Marie-Eve Marchand of SNAP Québec.

    Culture and nature are intrinsically linked

    "We would like to congratulate the Government of Québec as well as the
First Nations and Inuit people who have taken the important decision to
protect these lands. It represents good progress in the conservation of
natural and cultural values, and we look forward to a continuing the
conversation about a balanced approach to conservation and sustainable
development in Québec," said Harvey Locke, spokesperson for the CBI.
    To conclude, SNAP Québec, Nature Québec and the CBI remind all Quebeckers
that it is important to act while we still have the opportunity and abundance
to do so. As part of the World Conservation Congress currently underway in
Barcelona, yesterday the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
unveiled the results of its updated Red List of species, which confirm the
extinction crisis: one species out of four is at risk of disappearing from the
face of the Earth. This is a real crisis, and doing nothing to prevent it
would prove costly. The time has come to undertake wide-scale action, and
Québec has the opportunity to play an important role in protecting
biodiversity and fighting climate change at the world level.

    Nature Québec

    Nature Québec (www.naturequebec.org) is a national non-profit
organization that brings together more than 5000 individuals and
100 affiliated groups working in the environment and sustainable development.
Founded in 1981, the organization has spoken out over the years about a number
of environmental issues, including protected areas, agriculture, forestry
exploitation and energy.

    Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - CPAWS/SNAP Quebec

    Named a top ten charity organization in 2007 by Tides Canada, CPAWS/SNAP
is a non-profit, wilderness protection organization founded in 1963. With
13 chapters across Canada, staffed with over 50 people, and hundreds of
committed volunteers, CPAWS/SNAP creates consensus for wilderness conservation
by engaging citizens, government and industry at the community level through a
10 year vision of preserving at least half of Canada's wilderness.
    CPAWS/SNAP-Quebec (www.snapqc.org) came into existence in 2001. It mainly
focuses on establishing a true network of protected areas throughout the
province's public lands, the protection and management of the Boreal forest
and the existing parks and protected areas.

    Canadian Boreal Initiative

    Established in 2003, the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI)
(www.borealcanada.ca) works with a wide range of conservation organizations,
First Nations, industry and other interested parties to link science, policy
and conservation activities in Canada's Boreal Forest. Based in Ottawa, the
CBI brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal
conservation and acts as a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the
Boreal by governments, industry, First Nations, conservation groups, major
retailers, financial institutions and scientists.




For further information:

For further information: Mylène Bergeron, Communications coordinator,
Nature Québec, (418) 648-2104 x 2074, (418) 933-2031; Sophie Paradis,
Communications coordinator, SNAP Québec, (514) 278-7627 x 221; www.snapqc.org

Organization Profile

Canadian Boreal Initiative

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CANADIAN PARKS AND WILDERNESS SOCIETY

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