Wildlands League with fellow environment and industry signatories to the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, and Taykwa Tagamou Nation and northern municipalities, produced a voluntary agreement that aims to secure the future of 3 million ha of caribou range in the Abitibi River Forest near Cochrane, Ontario, to conserve Boreal woodland caribou, and to maintain hundreds of jobs in forestry. It was the first agreement of its kind and we hope, an example of a collaboration that models the way for other jurisdictions in Canada. The plan also respects the declaration by Moose Cree First Nation that the North French watershed also located in this part of Ontario be protected forever. Now we just need Ontario to implement it.
Above: Abitibi River Forest in NE ON.
We remain concerned at the rate by which Ontario’s boreal woodland caribou are disappearing – due largely to human destruction of their habitat. Caribou are bellwethers of the Boreal Forest’s health. They thrive in landscapes that are largely untouched by industrial development. Canada’s Boreal Forest holds the world’s most important stores of carbon, regulating our climate and also filters our air and provides us with clean freshwater.
We also care because we believe in solutions and that with perseverance they are possible. We seek connections and are not afraid to roll up our sleeves to find solutions with First Nations, industry, government, scientists and concerned citizens. It’s tough work and it takes time but it’s worth it.
The future for boreal woodland caribou in Ontario and across Canada is uncertain. Without effective habitat conservation and recovery measures, many of Canada’s caribou populations are in peril. What the Abitibi River Forest example teaches us is that solutions are possible. You can help by supporting innovative solutions like what was done in the Abitibi River Forest.