02/03/2011 - From pulp mill workers in Manitoba to indigenous hunters in the Amazon, hundreds of millions of people around the world rely directly on the forested expanses of our planet. All the rest of us depend on the ecological services forests provide.
This year, 2011, has been officially declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations, giving us opportunity to reflect on the intrinsic link between healthy forests and our own prosperity. It is also a time for us to come together, as a global body of citizens, government officials, scientists, and industry leaders, to boldly map out a new vision for the future of our forests.
A decade ago, the Pew Charitable Trusts' environment program, now known as the Pew Environment Group, evaluated strategies to protect some of the largest remaining intact ecosystems in the world. It was clear that the 1.2 billion intact acres of boreal forest in Canada not only harbored globally unique conservation benefits but that the people of Canada and their leaders value the natural treasures of their forests. Pew embarked on a long-term initiative to bring together new partners to protect Canada's boreal forest, and support the rights of aboriginal people and communities in the process.
Read the full article, Canada Sets Example for International Year of Forests, on National Geographic's Web site.
Dr. Jeff Wells is a Science Advisor for Pew Environment Group's International Boreal Conservation Campaign.