Canada’s Boreal Forest is inadequately protected. Almost half of the forest’s treed area is under licence to logging companies, mainly in the biologically diverse southern areas. Only 8.1 per cent of the intact areas of the forest are protected from industrial development under Canadian legislation.
Protected areas are non-industrial zones that are off-limit to intense logging and development. However, unlike federal or provincial parks, protected areas of forests are accessible for uses that have a low impact, such as indigenous communities’ traditional practices of hunting, fishing and trapping.
Protected areas need to be formed on the recommendations of independent conservation biologists. Certain areas of the forest, such as critical species habitat, have higher priority for protection because they have high conservation value. Sufficient protected areas need to be set aside to stop the fragmentation and degradation of intact forest ecosystems and areas of high conservation value, as well as safeguard habitat for species at risk.
Logging companies need to agree to defer logging in proposed protected areas, and consumers need to demand the pulp and paper they purchase does not come from vulnerable areas. Governments need to support these steps with binding legislation that regulates protection for these areas.