Landmark pact reached to protect Canada's Boreal Forest

Feature story - 18 May, 2010
Today the biggest, most ambitious forest conservation deal ever has been announced: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. After more than seven years of hard-fought campaigning to end the on-going destruction of Canada's Boreal Forest, Greenpeace and eight other non-governmental organisations have agreed to a truce with the logging industry: we will suspend the battle for the Boreal.

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement encorporates 72 million hectares of forest

In return, 21 of the biggest logging industry players from the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) have agreed to an immediate moratorium on logging in nearly 29 million hectares of forest that covers virtually all the critical habitat for the threatened woodland caribou. The long-term agreement includes a commitment from the parties to work over the next three years to undertake conservation planning for the entire area covered by the agreement. This unusual alliance of logging companies and environmental groups will work together to ensure long-term protection within 72 million hectares of forest - an area twice the size of Germany - that stretches right across Canada.

This agreement is the result of almost a decade of hard hard-fought campaigning, intense market pressure and peaceful direct action. It is the best chance we have to permanently protect vast areas of wilderness and biodiversity, protect the threatened woodland caribou and secure billions of tonnes of stored carbon which would otherwise contribute to climate change if the forest was logged.

Video: Taking Action for the Boreal

Kleercut campaign ended in victory August 2009

This agreement would not have happened without public support and pressure. Last year, Greenpeace won a key victory when Kimberly-Clark - maker of Kleenex and the largest tissue manufacturer in the world - agreed to a progressive forest policy in response to our Kleercut campaign. The role of consumer activism in transforming Kimberly-Clark set a precedent for the rest of the industry - it showed other companies that involvement in forest destruction will ultimately hurt their bottom line.

Today is just a start, there is still more work to do to ensure that the agreement leads to permanent protection for large areas of intact wilderness in Canada's Boreal Forest, one of the most important forested areas in the world. Greenpeace, together with the other groups and companies involved, will continue to play a leading role to make sure it is put into practice in a way that really protects forests, biodiversity and the global climate from the impacts of destructive logging.

*Go to Boreal Resources for a complete set of documents on the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

Map of area covered by Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Note: Parties to the Agreement:

Environmental organizations:

Greenpeace, 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.