CPAWS is one of seven environmental signatories to the historic Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA). Signed in 2010, the agreement brings together leading environmental groups in Canada with the Forest Products Association of Canada and its 19 member companies. It applies to 76 million ha of public lands in Canada. It is a globally significant precedent that seeks to conserve significant areas of Canada’s Boreal Forest, protect threatened woodland caribou and sustain a healthy forest industry for the communities who rely on it.
Ontario signatories to the agreement have been working in two main areas: Abitibi River Forest (in the Kesagami caribou range) in northeastern Ontario and in Resolute-held tenures (in the Brightsand caribou range) in northwestern Ontario. After months of intense discussions, negotiations broke down with Resolute around its forest tenures in the Brightsand Range in Spring 2013.
We remain optimistic, however, about our groundbreaking work in northeastern Ontario on the Abitibi River Forest and expect an announcement soon by Ontario on implementation of this plan.
Download the CBFA map.
CPAWS Wildlands League remains 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 with unlikely folks 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 win-win solutions are possible.
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. We need to be proactive and stop the expansion of industrial disturbances in their ranges and initiate recovery activities. And until more is known about how to manage successfully the industrial footprint the line should be held on the northern expansion of disturbance into new intact areas.
What the CBFA work in the Abitibi River Forest teaches us is that solutions are possible when government, industry, environmental groups and mayors and First Nations work together.