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Tree planting only part of the solution

  • Published on Aug 14 2007 |
  • This article is tagged as: boreal-forest

Time for Premier to keep promise to protect Boreal Forest

TORONTO, ON - Today a leading conservation group urges the Ontario government to protect the natural Boreal Forest in addition to planting trees as part of its climate change plans. "If today\'s announcement stops at planting trees then it would remain a good photo op. If the government is serious about staving off the worst impacts of climate change, then it will stop the degradation of one of the world\'s largest carbon storehouses, our Boreal Forest," says Janet Sumner Executive Director, CPAWS Wildlands League, "Good climate change plans must include forest protection as a complementary strategy to emissions reductions."

It is estimated that more than 200,000 hectares of Ontario\'s public forests are logged each year - an area more than three times the size of the entire City of Toronto. By removing the vast amounts of carbon stored in the
trees, scientific estimates suggest that these logging and associated disturbance activities release the equivalent of 15 MT of CO2 each year.

"Intact forests shield us from the worst impacts of global warming. We can\'t afford to lose them and to only plant trees," Ms. Sumner adds. In some cases, it may take up to 100 years, for planted trees to absorb and store the
same amount of carbon as found in a natural wild forest.

Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal Forest must be an important part of any response to global warming. "Ontario could prevent 7 MT of CO2 from going into the atmosphere by protecting the last vestiges of woodland
caribou habitat in the commercial Boreal Forest in the province right now," adds Ms. Sumner, "and Ontario should also be coming up with rules for development in the Boreal Forest located north of the 51st parallel as Mr.
McGuinty promised to do four years ago."

For further information:
Janet Sumner, Executive Director, CPAWS Wildlands League
(416) 971-9453 ext 39