Premier Doer Establishes Boreal Forest Conservation Legacy Before U.S.
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WINNIPEG, Oct. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, in his final days in office before becoming Canada's Ambassador to the United States, Manitoba's Premier Gary Doer announced a $10 million trust fund for conservation. The fund will support the on-going work of several First Nations involved in designating their Boreal homelands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning an area larger than Vancouver Island, this 40,000 square kilometre region straddling the Manitoba-Ontario border is one of the most ecologically intact Boreal forest ecosystems in the world.

"Premier Doer deserves credit as a tireless champion for the World Heritage site. This fund ensures that First Nations will have the resources to manage and protect their homelands," said Larry Innes, Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI). "We're proud to stand here today with the Province and the communities to celebrate their vision and leadership."

The Poplar River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Pikangikum First Nations, with the support of the Manitoba and Ontario governments, formed the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation in 2006 to achieve international recognition for the cultural and ecological values of the Boreal forest east of Lake Winnipeg as a World Heritage Site. The UNESCO World Heritage List was established as an international effort to identify and protect sites of universally outstanding value so that they would survive for the benefit of all humanity. The final bid for designation will be submitted in 2012.

Once designated, Pimachiowin Aki will be one of only a handful of sites on the World Heritage List that are recognized for both outstanding cultural and natural heritage values. The area is an important Anishinabe cultural landscape, and designation will support the maintenance of traditional ways of life as well as creating new opportunities for sustaining First Nation economies.

CBI has supported community-based land use planning led by several participating First Nations communities. Documenting traditional land use values as a necessary step towards World Heritage Site designation. CBI has also assisted Poplar River First Nation in researching and documenting the carbon values contained within their traditional territory.

"This trust fund, in addition to providing opportunities for First Nations to secure and promote important cultural landscapes and wildlife habitats, will also create incentives to maintain the carbon stored in intact Boreal forest soils, peatlands, and wetlands," continued Mr. Innes. "With leadership and direction from local communities, conservation can be an important tool in the fight to mitigate climate change."

Manitoba's Boreal region covers nearly 600,000 square kilometres, almost 90% of the province. Canada's Boreal region contains one-quarter of the world's remaining original forests and huge expanses of wetlands. Canada's boreal is home to a vast array of wildlife, including migratory songbirds, waterfowl, bears, and caribou. The Boreal stores more carbon than any other ecosystem on earth, and it is an important buffer against climate change. The region's natural wealth sustains hundreds of First Nations communities and supports thousands of jobs.

The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal forest by governments, industry, aboriginal communities, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

SOURCE Canadian Boreal Initiative

For further information: For further information: Suzanne Fraser, director of communications, (613) 232-2530, sfraser@borealcanada.ca, www.borealcanada.ca

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