Tree planting only part of the solution

    Time for Premier to keep promise to protect Boreal Forest

    TORONTO, Aug. 13 /CNW/ - Today a leading conservation group urges the
Ontario government to protect the natural Boreal Forest in addition to
planting trees as part of its climate change plans. "If today's announcement
stops at planting trees then it would remain a good photo op. If the
government is serious about staving off the worst impacts of climate change,
then it will stop the degradation of one of the world's largest carbon
storehouses, our Boreal Forest," says Janet Sumner Executive Director, CPAWS
Wildlands League, "Good climate change plans must include forest protection as
a complementary strategy to emissions reductions."
    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 the
trees, scientific estimates suggest that these logging and associated
disturbance activities release the equivalent of 15 MT of CO2 each year.
    "Intact forests shield us from the worst impacts of global warming. We
can't afford to lose them and to only plant trees," Ms. Sumner adds. In some
cases, it may take up to 100 years, for planted trees to absorb and store the
same amount of carbon as found in a natural wild forest.
    Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal Forest must be an important
part of any response to global warming. "Ontario could prevent 7 MT of CO2
from going into the atmosphere by protecting the last vestiges of woodland
caribou habitat in the commercial Boreal Forest in the province right now,"
adds Ms. Sumner, "and Ontario should also be coming up with rules for
development in the Boreal Forest located north of the 51st parallel as Mr.
McGuinty promised to do four years ago."

For further information:

For further information: please visit or
contact: Janet Sumner, Executive Director, CPAWS Wildlands League, (416)
971-9453 ext 39

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