Forestry Companies and Environmental Groups propose solutions to Ontario Government that protect jobs and woodland caribou in Northern Ontario

OTTAWA, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - Environmentalists and forest companies who are signatories to the landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) welcome the public consultations on woodland caribou protection announced today by the government of Ontario.  The CBFA is an historic agreement between 9 environmental organizations and 21 forestry companies that has caribou conservation as one of its key goals.   CBFA signatories have developed recommendations that protect threatened caribou while safeguarding jobs. They urge the Ontario government to consider their recommendations, which they believe can deliver a "win-win" situation for both caribou and the forest sector .

"We want to help find a solution to this important issue that minimizes further disturbance of needed caribou habitat. This will allow time to conduct research that can show whether or not local caribou populations are healthy." said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.*

Janet Sumner, Executive Director of CPAWS- Wildlands League  added that, " it is  important to maintain the viability and health of the forest industry along with protecting caribou.  Existing forestry  operations would not be disrupted by our proposed measures to protect this species."

We believe there can be a bright future for both forest industry jobs and woodland caribou in northern Ontario.  Getting us there requires ensuring that environmental sustainability is the basis for industry prosperity. Doing so will enable Ontario's forest industry to compete effectively in an increasingly 'green' global market place.

The CBFA joint recommendations include:

  • Minimizing the industrial footprint within caribou ranges contingent upon ensuring that long-term, secure and economic wood supply is available to existing mills,
  • Monitoring populations of woodland caribou to ensure their long term health and recovery, and to better understand caribou re-occupancy of previously disturbed habitats.
  • Offsetting the incremental costs of best practices such as road deactivation and enhanced silviculture.
  • Reviewing all new industrial proposals through a cumulative effects screening tool that operates at the caribou range level.
  • Implementing an adaptive management by government for population monitoring and recovery of the species on an ongoing basis.

The CBFA signatories wish to work with other stakeholders and the Ontario government to explore these recommendations. 

CBFA signatories believe both successful forest conservation and business competitiveness require effective involvement of Aboriginal peoples and their governments. The signatories are committed to such involvement taking place in a manner that is respectful of and engages these Aboriginal rights, title, interests, and aspirations.

*FPAC members are responsible for two-thirds of Canada's certified forests.  In Ontario, FPAC represents AbitibiBowater, Tembec, and Weyerhaeuser.


SOURCE FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Jim Pimblett 613-212-5196 ext 301 -647-966-7388 cell; email: jimpimblett@borealagreeement.ca

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FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

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