The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework is a project of the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI).
The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework (the Framework) is a shared vision to sustain the ecological and cultural integrity of the Canadian Boreal Forest in perpetuity.
Our vision is that Canada's Boreal Forest will become the world's best conserved forest ecosystem, while supporting Northern communities by developing leading sustainable management practices. Together, Canadians will recognize and promote the important value of healthy Boreal ecosystems and communities.
The Framework is based on principles of conservation biology and land use planning. Its goal is to "conserve the cultural, sustainable economic and natural values of the entire Canadian Boreal Forest by employing the principles of conservation biology to:
- protect at least 50% of the Boreal in a network of large interconnected protected areas, and
- support sustainable communities, world-leading ecosystem-based resource management and state-of-the-art stewardship practices across the remaining landscape."
In addition to the vision statement and goal noted above, the Framework articulates principles, commitments and general criteria with respect to a Canada wide network of large interconnected protected areas.
Visit Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) website
Download Canadian Boreal Forest Conservation Framework (PDF)
In May 2007, more than 1,500 scientists from around the world endorsed the Framework's vision for Boreal conservation.
View May 14, 2007 Canadian Boreal Initiative press release
Source: Canadian Boreal Initiative
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced July 14, 2008 his government will work with First Nation communities to protect 225,000 square kilometres (22.5 million hectares) of boreal forest in the province's far north. The Northern Boreal region comprises 43% of Ontario's land base and is home to 24,000 people living in 36 communities.
In comparison to previous large-scale conservation initiatives in Ontario, this announcement is unprecedented; the future protected areas will be larger than Canada's Atlantic provinces combined.
Under the initiative, to be undertaken as part of Ontario's Far North Planning initiative, Ontario will
- Collaborate with scientists, First Nation and Métis communities to identify, map and permanently protect an interconnected network of conservation lands across the Far North. (North of 50 degrees)
- Support a local land-use planning process for First Nation communities in the region that will precede development decisions. Fundamental to this process is a commitment from Premier McGuinty to work with First Nations to ensure their consent is given before any industrial projects go forward.
- Work with northern communities and resource industries to create a broad plan for sustainable development, including mechanisms for resource benefit sharing wit First Nations communities for projects that receive community consent.
- Review the Mining Act, introduce legislation in the upcoming session and put in place new mining rules in late 2009. Consultations could begin as early as August 2008. Premier McGuinty's commitment is to change the Mining Act from a 'free entry' system to one that respects the rights of First Nations and ensure that new mining development in the Far North will require early consultation and accommodation with local Aboriginal communities.
The entire process - land use planning, new mining legislation, protected areas establishment - is expected to be completed over the next 10 to 15 years.
The Ontario government says protecting this region is key to its plan to fight climate change. The forests and peat lands in the Far North store about 97 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and absorb approximately 12.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
Ontario's northern boreal region is inhabited by more than 200 species of animals such as polar bears, wolverines, and caribou - many of which are threatened or endangered.
Preserving these lands also protects the core cultural connection of the Aboriginal people who live there, their connection to the land, clean water and abundant hunting and fishing. First Nations leaders in Ontario praised the government's approach.
"This is good news for the people of Nishnawbe Aski, as it will require that First Nations be fully involved in resource development in our traditional territory," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "Not only will this provide clarity for First Nations, Ontario and industry as we pursue new economic opportunities, but it will also support any First Nations who may not be ready for resource development in their territory."
Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse stated, "Reconciliation and conservation are imperatives for all peoples of Ontario. I am pleased to see the Premier taking steps in this direction."
Regional Chief Toulouse also added, "I take the Premier's words to mean that the evolution of development in this province has to change. This change must bring to an end development driven solely by colonial interests and capital gain."
Download July 14, 2008 Government of Ontario press release
View July 14, 2008 Environmental News Service article
View July 15, 2008 Globe and Mail article
View July 15, 2008 Winnipeg Free Press article
View July 14, 2008 Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) press release
View July 15, 2008 press release from Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse
Download July 21, 2008 Pew Environment Group press release (DOC)
Download July 14, 2008 CPAWS Wildlands League press release (PDF)
View July 18, 2008 Video of KI Chief Donnie Morris' response
Take Action: Will You Make A Noise? campaign from Wildlands League
Sources: Government of Ontario, Environmental News Service, Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse, Pew Environmental Group, CPAWS Wildlands League
The Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is a US-based non-profit "dedicated to educating Americans about the importance of the Boreal Forest to migratory birds". The BSI strives to mobilize US citizens and groups to influence Canadian policy and practice regarding the boreal forest because resource development in the Boreal is largely being spurred by American consumption.
Visit the Boreal Songbird Initiative web site
BSI scientist Dr. Jeffrey Wells collaborated with Dr. Peter Blanchard of Bird Studies Canada to produce an analysis of the Boreal Forest Region's vital role in sustaining North American bird life.
Download April 2005 Boreal Songbird Initiative/Bird Studies Canada report The Boreal forest region: North America's Bird Nursery (PDF)
View reports on the importance of the boreal forest to North America's birds
Visit the Boreal Songbird Initiative Blog