Mathew Jacobson, manager of the Pew Environment Group's International Boreal Conservation Campaign for Québec, issued the following statement regarding today's announcement from the province's Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Pierre Arcand. The ministry will create the “Groupe de Concertation sur la Conservation au Québec,” an advisory committee that will make recommendations for the protection of Quebec's northern boreal.
“Pew strongly supports Quebec's move to engage a range of interests in its plan to protect an area of the boreal roughly equal in size to France. Today's announcement moves last year's pledge out of the realm of promises and closer to reality.
“The protection of at least half of the northern boreal, in conjunction with world-class standards for sustainable development in the remaining areas , would establish Quebec as a global leader for forest conservation.
“We applaud Quebec for an ambitious effort to balance conservation with development on a grand scale.”
Background: The North American boreal forest, stretching from Newfoundland and Labrador to Alaska, is the world's largest intact forest, surpassing the Amazon Rainforest in size, ecological integrity and carbon storage. It holds 22 percent of the carbon on the earth's land surface. More than 20 percent of the woodlands are located in the province of Quebec. In 2007, 1,500 international scientists recommended that at least half of Canada's boreal forest be protected. In March 2009, Quebec Premier Jean Charest pledged that 50 percent of the land area covered by his ‘Plan Nord' would be protected from industrial development, and that industrial activity in the other portions would be held to sustainable standards.