Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement!
by Scott Paul
May 18, 2010
It’s time to announce "another big forest victory!" This one I take great pleasure in sending out myself. At first blush it might not appear as sexy as our unfolding Indonesian forest story or as awe-inspiring as our ongoing Amazon soy and cattle story, but I believe that someday we will look back at the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and deem it the most important of all.
Canada! Where Greenpeace started. Canada! Where the Greenpeace Forest Campaign started. Canada! Home to the world’s largest timber industry! Canada! Now home to the biggest eco-regional land use planning process in history!
On the table will be 277,992 sq miles of boreal forest – that’s like one Texas plus one New Hampshire put together! Of that, 111,969 square miles of prime habitat will be immediately placed in 100% moratoria – that’s like one Nevada and one Rhode Island put together. No logging, no road building, no nothing.
To be clear, today’s agreement is an agreement to START a three-year negotiation process. For the next three years Greenpeace and a bunch of other environmental groups will be negotiating with a consortium of 21 logging companies. Seats will soon be filled by First Nation representatives, too. A 100-something page framework for talks has already been agreed with 60 something measurable milestones that must be met along the way – all monitored by an independent 3rd party.
For you older folks or students of history, think of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement as the giant, oversized child of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement which is today considered the global hallmark of conservation agreements. The Great Bear multi-stakeholder, eco-regional land use planning process was a first-of-its-kind, unprecedented achievement with huge conservation gains, as all logging is mandated to meet or exceed FSC standards. This new Boreal Agreement, if the 3-year negotiation process succeeds, will be the same thing … only much, much bigger.
Will it be a 3-year hair-pulling, teeth-grinding fight? Hell yeah! Friendships will be gained and strained. Some may turn to the bottle. But mark my words, we’re gonna win it. We’re not negotiating from scratch. A lot of important “givens” are already built into the process.
Thanks to everyone who ever did anything to help any Boreal forest campaign! Now the real work begins. Wish us luck.
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