Several forest industry and conservation groups have developed a plan that would encourage sustainable harvesting and ecological protection in Ontario.
According to the Globe & Mail, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CFBA) outlines a plan in which “some 835,000 hectares in the Abitibi River forest – an area roughly the size of Yellowstone Park in the U.S. – will be excluded from timber harvesting in order to protect the threatened woodland caribou, considered a bellwether species whose fate reflects the health of the ecosystem.”
Further to the protected area, the plan also leaves 2.2 million hectares open to forestry though they will be subject to high standards of sustainable forest practices.
An article published by Pulp And Paper Canada outlines some of the major recommendations of the agreement:
- Greater conservation of forested areas that are critical caribou habitat, and increased harvesting emphasis placed on areas where caribou have not been present for some time;
- An increase to over 835,000 hectares of boreal woodland caribou habitat excluded from timber harvesting;
- Approximately 2.2 million hectares that remain open to timber harvest with increased yields of spruce saw logs and pulp, but with greater conservation measures for caribou habitat; and
- An estimated 20% increase in spruce wood supply for the next 30 years from the current direction for the area.
Before anything can be implemented, Ontario’s provincial government must first approve the plan. According to the Globe & Mail, Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle both praised the effort and “pledged speedy review.”