Greenpeace lauds historic new pact to save Canada’s Boreal Forest

Feature story - May 18, 2010
Greenpeace today joined eight other environmental groups and forest companies in the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)* to announce the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, a historic pact that will lead to large-scale protection of wilderness areas in Canada’s Boreal Forest, protection of threatened woodland caribou, and significantly higher environmental standards for forest management.

Boreal agreement

The Agreement, announced by environmental groups and FPAC at news conferences in Toronto and Montreal, covers 278 thousand square miles (72 million hectares) of Boreal Forest, a massive sweep of forest - roughly the same size as Texas and New Hampshire combined - that stretches almost from coast to coast. Included in the agreement is an immediate moratorium on logging in 112 thousand sq mi (28 million hectares, roughly the same size as Nevada and Rhode Island combined), covering virtually all the critical habitat of the threatened woodland caribou.

Greenpeace map Boreal Agreement

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"This is our best chance to save woodland caribou, permanently protect vast areas of the Boreal Forest, and put in place sustainable forestry practices," said Richard Brooks, Greenpeace forest campaign coordinator at the news conference. "The interest of the marketplace and public has been critical in this agreement. We have a lot of work to do together to make this agreement successful and we are committed to making it happen."

The goals of the 90-page Agreement include commitments to developing joint proposals for networks of protected areas, especially areas of intact forest; joint proposals for the recovery of species at risk, including woodland caribou; and the development of world-leading practices in forest management and harvesting.

With the Agreement, the FPAC companies will have established their leadership on conservation issues and will be able to operate in a more certain business environment. As a result, the forest industry in Canada will be stronger, forest communities will have a better economic future, and Canadian forest products will have a stronger position in global markets.

A more intelligent, productive way to manage economic and environmental challenges in the Boreal

"The importance of this Agreement cannot be overstated," said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC at the news conference. "FPAC member companies and their ENGO counterparts have turned the old paradigm on its head. Together we have identified a more intelligent, productive way to manage economic and environmental challenges in the boreal that will reassure global buyers of our products' sustainability. It's gratifying to see nearly a decade of industry transformation and hard work greening our operations is culminating in a process that will set a forestry standard that will be the envy of the world."

As part of the Agreement, Greenpeace, along with ForestEthics and Canopy, two other groups involved, have immediately suspended their "Do-Not-Buy" and divestment campaigns against the FPAC companies.

Greenpeace played a leading role in developing the agreement, which includes a three-year timeline for completing conservation planning across the whole 278,000 square mile area.

In addition to the work of environmental groups, the Pew Environment Group and the Ivey Foundation have played an important role in supporting negotiations.

The Agreement also includes commitments to continue work already under way to involve First Nations in implementation. The role of First Nations is considered essential to full implementation.

Click here for a complete set of documents on the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

*Parties to the Agreement:

Environmental organizations:

Greenpeace, Canadian Boreal Initiative , Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, the Ivey Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pew Environment Group's International Boreal Conservation Campaign. The Hewlett Foundation's support for boreal forest conservation has been critical to the collective efforts of these groups.

FPAC companies:

AbitibiBowater, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc., DMI, F.F. Soucy, Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd, Paper Masson Ltee, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd, Weyerhauser Compnay Limited - all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada.