Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest and the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Line Beauchamp, announced the protection of approximately 18,000 square kilometers, or 4.5 million acres, of natural areas in Canada's Boreal Forest, including additions to the George River Protected Area and 8 sites in Nunavik.
The total amount of protected areas in Quebec's portion of the Boreal Forest is now more than 8 percent. There are commitments to add another four percent province-wide and to protect at least 50 percent of northern Quebec as part of the Plan Nord.
“Just five years ago, Quebec was behind the curve in protecting its natural heritage. Now it's on its way to becoming a world leader,” said Mathew Jacobson of the Pew Environment Group. “With each new conservation addition, Quebec emerges further as a global model for sustainable economic development and land conservation.”
“We would like to congratulate the Government of Quebec as well as the First Nations and Inuit people who have taken the important decision to protect these lands. It represents good progress in the conservation of natural and cultural values. This represents important progress towards the goal of protecting at least half of Quebec's Boreal Forest and the North,” said Harvey Locke, spokesperson for the Canadian Boreal Initiative.
Established in 2003, the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) (www.borealcanada.ca) works with a wide range of conservation organizations, First Nations, industry and other interested parties to link science, policy and conservation activities in Canada's Boreal Forest. Based in Ottawa, the CBI brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst for on the ground efforts across the Boreal by governments, industry, First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.