Wanted: real leadership - To bring about a moratorium on logging in intact forests

    QUEBEC, Jan. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Dressed as trees, and spread out over a
giant map of the province of Quebec, Greenpeace activists today fell to the
ground to the sound of chainsaws symbolizing the ongoing logging in the Boreal
Forest. Activists gathered in order to draw attention to Greenpeace's demand
that Jean Charest adopt an immediate moratorium on logging in intact areas of
the Boreal Forest.
    "There is a real urgency to protect Quebec's Boreal Forest," said
Melissa Fillion, Greenpeace forests campaigner. "If the government does not
immediately impose a moratorium, Quebec runs the risk of losing its last
intact forests." The Coulombe Commission stated in 2004 that Quebec forests
were being overexploited and that there was only 15% of the Boreal Forest in
Quebec left intact.
    Today's action drew attention to the meager 3.4%(1) of Quebec that is
currently protected from industrial logging. In 1992, while federal minister
of the environment, Jean Charest signed the Convention on Biodiversity, which
called on Canada to create a network of protected areas by 2010. Fifteen years
later, the failure to meet this objective is clear to all.
    "Mr. Charest, while you are far from reaching the timetable you committed
to in 1992, you are close, very close, to your electoral timetable!" added
    Greenpeace is calling on the government to adopt a moratorium on
industrial logging in areas of intact forest, or an area of 113 000 km(2) of
Boreal Forest and 180 000 km(2) of the northern logging limit. Greenpeace is
calling for independent scientific studies to determine which areas need to be
protected before they are logged. At the end of the moratorium, Greenpeace
calls on the government to set up larger and more new protected areas in the
Boreal Forest, and maintain the northern cut limit. The government should also
put in place a management plan for conservation and economic development that
would protect both the Boreal Forest and the economic diversification of the
communities that depend on it.
    Greenpeace is of the opinion that without concrete action on the part of
Jean Charest, the crisis in the forestry sector will only get worse. "We are
calling for nothing less than a personal commitment by Jean Charest to act on
the issues raised here today," concluded Fillion. "There is only one possible
course of action for meaningful change, and that is to bring about a
moratorium on logging in intact forests."

    (1) Data from Aux Arbres citoyens

For further information:

For further information: Mélissa Filion, responsable de la campagne
forêt - Greenpeace, cell: (514) 581-8216; Jocelyn, Communications -
Greenpeace, cell: (514) 212-5749

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