Survey of Canadian Forests Raises Protection Calls
VANCOUVER Environmentalists say a new survey of logging and other development in Canada's forests, released Wednesday, shows the need for greater conservation and protection.
The study found that about 70 percent of Canada's forests have not been "fragmented" by logging or other human intrusions, but most of the undisturbed landscape is in the far northern boreal and taiga forests.
"It's kind a dual threat and opportunity message," said Peter Lee, executive director of Global Forest Watch Canada and one of the survey's authors.
Lee said the threat is in the south, where not enough has been done to protect the biodiverse forests. "Yet we have this global opportunity (in the north) to do things right if we choose to," he said.
Lee and two other researchers spent more than two years studying satellite images and using on-site surveys to create the first consistent, country-wide survey of industrial development of Canada's forests.
"Which is no small feat given the size of Canada's forests," Lee said with a laugh.
Nearly all of the untouched forest is in Quebec, the Northwest Territories, Ontario and British Columbia, with none left in the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Lee said the survey should help government identify areas needing conservation protection, and could even aid timber firms needing to set aside land for protection to gain environmental certification for their products.
The Canadian Boreal Initiative, which includes both industrial and environmental groups, said the survey shows the needed to provide more protection for that northern forest that runs from Alaska to the Atlantic coast.
Canada's boreal forest represents about 25 percent of the world's remaining intact forests, but only 10 percent of it is protected from industrial development.