Steve Kallick, director of Pew Environment Group's International Boreal Conservation Campaign, issued the following statement today commending Premier Gary Doer and the Province of Manitoba, Canada, for creating a fund for a proposed World Heritage Site (WHS). The $10 million trust will support the establishment of Pimachiowin Aki, a WHS candidate area covering over 10 million acres of pristine boreal forest.
“We congratulate Premier Doer and the Government of Manitoba for helping to facilitate the protection of Pimachiowin Aki, a globally-significant ecosystem that contains irreplaceable reserves of fresh water, habitat for wildlife and carbon-rich soils and wetlands. The proposed area, four times larger than the United States' Yellowstone National Park, is a critical part of efforts to protect Canada's Boreal Forest—a global treasure ranked by scientists as one of the world's top conservation priorities.
“We are especially pleased that Premier Doer and the Government of Manitoba are providing the financial support needed to facilitate large-scale conservation initiatives by aboriginal people who live within the Boreal Forest.
“As nations look at the costs and benefits of protecting the world's dwindling old-growth forests, to protect nature and act as a buffer against climate change, we should take note of the incredible value Pimachiowin Aki and other projects like it represent.”
Planning for this new WHS candidate began several years ago and is being managed by a unique collaboration between four First Nations and the governments of Manitoba and Ontario.
Manitoba's announcement follows others from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the federal government in the Northwest Territories to designate over 20 million acres of new parks and wildlife refuges and to undertake conservation planning to protect another 200 million acres, an area twice the size of California. The Canadian Boreal Forest, stretching from Labrador to Alaska, is the world's largest, most intact old-growth forest, surpassing the Amazon Rainforest in size, ecological integrity and carbon storage.
This is one of the last official acts by Premier Doer, who has been nominated to become Canada's Ambassador to the United States.