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Saving caribou will curb climate change: new report


Download the Report (PDF)

Today, the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released its new report entitled Caribou and You report. The report tells the story of the woodland caribou’s decline and how saving the threatened species from extinction will help slow the affects of climate change.

Woodland caribou require immense, unbroken Boreal wilderness to find enough food and avoid predators. As the Boreal is the world’s largest land-based storehouse of carbon, these vast intact spaces also help to curb climate change.

“By protecting the caribou’s home in our Boreal wilderness, we slow the accelerator pedal on climate change,” says Ron Thiessen, CPAWS Manitoba Executive Director. “Humans need big protected Boreal spaces as much as caribou do.”

Canada’s Boreal stores more than 186 billion tons of carbon – 27 years\' worth of global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. When the Boreal is developed or logged, its ability to absorb and store carbon is lost or reduced, which degrades its ability to help moderate our climate.

Woodland caribou populations are declining across Canada and they have already disappeared from three provinces largely due to habitat loss from industrial developments such as clear-cut logging. Both the federal and Manitoba governments have listed woodland caribou as a threatened species in need of habitat protection but are not taking the actions required to ensure their wellbeing.

“CPAWS is calling for an immediate halt to logging, logging road construction, and other industrial developments in intact caribou habitat until the government can demonstrate that adequate measures have been put in place to ensure long-term caribou survival,” says Thiessen.

CPAWS is proposing that the Manitoba government announces a plan to work with all involved to protect more than 50% of Manitoba’s Boreal Region from industrial developments. According to a letter from more than 1,500 highly respected scientists* from across the globe, this is the minimum amount of protection required to ensure the area remains fully functioning as an integral part of earth’s life support system.

According to Pascal Badiou, Ph.D and adjunct professor in the University of Manitoba\'s Department of Environment and Geography, and signatory to the scientists letter to Canadian governments, “the Boreal forest is one of the world’s most precious water resources and is dotted with millions of small wetlands and lakes that are important habitat for wildlife,” says Badiou.

“Additionally, it is one of, if not the most, important terrestrial carbon stores on the planet and therefore plays a key role in the global climate cycle.”

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For more information, please contact Ron Thiessen (Executive Director, CPAWS Manitoba) at (204 794 4971) or (204 453 6346)

* 1,500 Scientists Worldwide Call For Protection of Canada\'s Boreal Forest