05/18/2010 - Timber companies and environment groups have unveiled an agreement aimed at protecting two-thirds of Canada's vast forests from unsustainable logging.
Over 72 million hectares are included in what will become the world's largest commercial forest conservation deal.
Logging will be totally banned on some of the land, in the hope of sustaining endangered caribou populations.
Timber companies hope the deal will bring commercial gains, as timber buyers seek higher ethical standards.
The total protected area is about twice the size of Germany, and equals the area of forest lost globally between 1990 and 2005.
"The importance of this agreement cannot be overstated," said Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC).
The Pew Environment Group, which has worked for about a decade on trying to "green" Canada's forestry, said it was "excited" by the agreement.
"We're thrilled that this effort has led to the largest commercial forest conservation plan in history, which could not have happened without both sides looking beyond their differences," said Steve Kallick, director of Pew's International Boreal Conservation Campaign.
Read the full article, 'World's Biggest' Forest Protection Deal for Canada, on the BBC News Web site.