Pew, Quebec Government to Introduce Motion Applauding World's Largest Land Conservation Plan

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IUCN resolution commends Quebec for commitment to protect half of province's boreal region; policy supported by all major parties in Quebec

On Sept. 9, Mat Jacobson, the Pew Environment Group and Suzann Methot, Canadian Boreal Initiative, will present a motion at the International Union for Conservation of Nature's World Conservation Congress here, commending Quebec for adopting the world's most ambitious commitments to sustainable development.

The policies recognized by this resolution, sponsored by Pew and supported by Quebec's Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs, were adopted as a part of Quebec's Plan Nord and have been endorsed by all of Quebec's major political parties. The resolution would recognize as a global model the policy, which commits to work in partnership with aboriginal communities to protect an area the size of France from industrial activity and maintain sustainable standards on an area of equal size. 

The circumpolar boreal forest, one of Earth's largest and arguably least known ecosystems, plays a crucial role in the health of the planet. Rivaling the Amazon in size and ecological importance, Canada's boreal forest supports the world's most extensive network of pure lakes, rivers and wetlands and captures and stores twice as much carbon as tropical forests. It teems with wildlife—including billions of songbirds that migrate across the Americas.

Related Facts:

  • Quebec's boreal is 1.2 million km2 (297 million acres) in size – twice the size of France.
  • The Plan Nord comprises 21 percent of Canada's boreal, the world's largest intact forest.
  • Canada's boreal stores an estimated stores more than 400 trillion pounds of carbon in lakes and river delta sediment, peatlands and wetlands–more than any other terrestrial source in the world.
  • Ecosystem services of Canada's boreal have an estimated $700 billion annual value.
  • Canada's boreal contains 25 percent of the world's wetlands and more surface water than any other continental-scale landscape. The extensive undammed rivers of the boreal serve as last refuges for many of the world's sea-run migratory fish, including half of the remaining populations of North American Atlantic salmon.
  • Canada's boreal forest is increasingly affected by large-scale industrial activities. The rapidly expanding development footprint already includes 728,000 km² (180 million acres) impacted by forestry, road building, mining, oil and gas extraction, and hydropower.

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