Environment Canada's Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy Now Requires Aboriginal Consultation

    OTTAWA, April 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI)
welcomes the release of the scientific report on woodland caribou, issued
today by Environment Canada. Going forward, the success of the recovery
strategy will hinge on habitat protection and land use planning in partnership
with Aboriginal communities.
    "This report is a good first step," said Larry Innes, Executive Director
of CBI. "To be truly successful, the strategy must now engage with First
Nations communities in consultation and accommodation to ensure that they are
fully involved in woodland caribou conservation."
    The woodland caribou, which live in Canada's Boreal region, are listed as
'threatened' under the federal Species At Risk Act. The scientific report
describes methods for identifying critical habitat necessary for the recovery
of viable populations of woodland caribou.
    "Woodland caribou won't survive a business-as-usual approach," said Larry
Innes, Executive Direction of CBI. "Woodland caribou are a primary indicator
of healthy, intact Boreal forest, and they have disappeared from large areas
of their former range as a consequence of decisions we've made. Many
scientists believe that woodland caribou populations will continue to decline
unless land use practices change. Our decisions today will determine whether
they persist in the future."
    CBI is working with members of the Boreal Leadership Council, which
comprises leading resource companies, environmental groups, First Nations,
financial and retail institutions, to advance woodland caribou conservation,
including ways of effectively integrating Aboriginal rights and knowledge into
successful strategic collaborations.
    "By working with Aboriginal communities, governments, environmental
organizations, the forest, energy and mining industries, and others, we
believe it possible to act together with governments to protect critical
habitat for the recovery of healthy and sustainable populations of this iconic
Canadian animal," continued Innes.
    "The scientific case for immediate action to protect woodland is
convincing. Government now needs to re-double its efforts to bring Aboriginal
communities and Aboriginal traditional knowledge holders into the conversation
about how conservation measures to protect habitat can be achieved through new
protected areas, land use planning and other innovative tools," concluded

    The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) works with First Nations,
governments, conservation organizations, industry leaders and others to link
science, policy and conservation solutions across Canada's Boreal forest. CBI
works to advance the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework as a balanced vision
for conservation and sustainable development.

    The Boreal Framework recommends that at least half of Canada's Boreal
Forest be set aside in large protected areas with cutting edge sustainable
development in the remainder of the landscape. More than 1,500 scientists and
a diverse coalition of conservation, First Nations, and industry groups
support the Boreal Framework.

For further information:

For further information: Suzanne Fraser, Director of communications,
Canadian Boreal Initiative, (613) 232-2530, sfraser@borealcanada.ca

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Canadian Boreal Initiative

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