Report reveals ecological crisis in Ontario's Boreal Forest



    Decades of logging and road building taking toll on intact forest and
    iconic caribou

    TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - Conservation groups are responding to an
alarming report released today that highlights a growing ecological crisis in
Ontario's Boreal Forest. The report, released by Global Forest Watch Canada,
documents disturbing changes in Ontario's forests from years of destructive
industrial activities which are pushing threatened species including the
woodland caribou closer to extinction and setting Ontario on a precariously
unsustainable path. The groups urge Premier McGuinty to heed these warnings
and bolster his government's much anticipated climate change plan with
protection of Ontario's intact Boreal Forest.
    "This report is a clarion call," says Anna Baggio, Director Conservation
Land Use Planning of CPAWS Wildlands League. "Here is our opportunity to
protect the remaining intact Boreal Forest for caribou and for our
grandchildren."
    The report follows an urgent call from a long list of celebrities and
conservation groups to protect Ontario's Boreal Forest to save species and
mitigate global warming.
    "Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal ecosystems must be an
important part of any government's response to global warming," says Wendy
Francis, Director of Conservation and Science for Ontario Nature. "This report
warns us that our remaining intact forests - one of our best hopes for
fighting global warming - are clearly under threat."
    It is estimated that more than 200,000 hectares of Ontario's public
forests are logged each year - an area more than three times the size of the
entire City of Toronto. By removing the vast amounts of carbon stored in these
trees, scientific estimates suggest that these logging activities release the
equivalent of 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
    "Today's report underlines the urgent need for an innovative plan for
Ontario's Boreal Forest," said Sierra Legal Lawyer & Economist, Dr. Anastasia
Lintner. "Create sustainable northern economies. Capture carbon. Protect
caribou habitat. Require state-of-the-art forest certification. These are the
cornerstones to economically sound global warming solutions."
    "Protecting our Boreal Forests must be a key component of any government
climate plan," said ForestEthics' Boreal Campaigner, Leah Henderson. "Through
strong environmental leadership we can capture growing green markets for
forest products and protect the earth's basic ecosystem services - the air we
breathe and the water that we drink."

    The following groups support the call for Boreal Forest protection in
Ontario: ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Markets Initiative, Natural Resources
Defense Council, Ontario Nature, Sierra Legal and CPAWS Wildlands League.





For further information:

For further information: please visit www.savetheboreal.ca or contact:
Anna Baggio, Director, CPAWS Wildlands League, (416) 453-3285 (cell); Wendy
Francis, Director of Conservation and Science, Ontario Nature, (416) 846-2404;
Leah Henderson, Boreal Campaigner, ForestEthics, (647) 883-5983 (cell); Dr.
Anastasia Lintner, Staff Lawyer & Economist, Sierra Legal, (416) 368-7533 ext
25; Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director, Markets Initiative, (250) 725-8050
(cell)

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WILDLANDS LEAGUE

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ONTARIO NATURE

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