In order to promote work and conservation of the forests, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) will be heading to Prince Albert.
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“We are an enormous collaborative venture between the Canadian Forest Industry and the a large slice of the Canadian conservation community or environmental groups,” CBFA executive director Aran O'Carroll said. “We’re working to find solutions, both for conservation across Canada’s boreal forests, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and to find solutions for future prosperity for the industry and the communities that rely on it.”
On Wednesday, not only will CBFA representatives be talking to media about their initiatives, many of their partners will also be in attendance.
“We are going to be talking about our agreement in some detail,” O’Carroll said. “We will have our partners there from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society with their giant map of the Canadian boreal and the CBFA, which will help explain our initiative and where we are working again from B.C. to Newfoundland.”
The Geographic Society, which publishes the Canadian Geographic, one of the most largely read magazines in the country, are working with CBFA through their “On The Move” campaign, O’Carroll said.
“As geographers, primarily, from the Canadian Geographical Society are keen supporters of the CBFA and so they have a suite of educational tools that they are using to tell the story of the boreal forest and it is important for environmental values as well as for development values,” he said.
The society has been touring high schools around the province over the course of the last week.
“They are taking students across this giant map that we have and explaining the significance of the forest industry, explaining the significance of the boreal forest, and really helping students to get a handle on the enormity of the Canadian geography and in particular, the enormity of the boreal forest and the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement,” O’Carroll said. “It is quite informative to have kids run around on a map of Canada the size of a gymnasium floor and really get a handle on the size of the country and the challenge of finding solutions in the boreal forest.”
There will also be representatives from the forestry companies, as well as environmental companies.
“We will spend the day talking about the boreal forest, talking about what a new future for the forest industry looks like, what conservation opportunities there are across the country and in Saskatchewan,” he said. “We will talk particularly on the work we are doing in East-Central Saskatchewan, up against the Manitoba border and past the (Pasquia Porcupine Forest Management Agreement Area) towards management agreement area which is north of and surrounding Hudson Bay, which is our current priority area in Saskatchewan.”
From East-Central Saskatchewan to Hudson Bay, they are working on developing recommendations for caribou conservation that will also support the forestry industry, he explained.
“(We are) trying to find a solution that works both for conservation and for forest industry sustainability and sustainability for the mill in Hudson Bay and all the jobs that are reliant on it,” O’Carroll said.
Talking about the boreal forest conservation is important for a couple of reasons, he said.
“One is the boreal forest plays an incredibly important role in climate regulation,” O’Carroll said. “When we talk from a conservation perspective, the challenges of climate change, it is critically important that we ensure conservation of the climate regulation of the boreal forest and yet to preserve biodiversity and species at risk.
“We are in the sixth global extinction of species and we are trying very hard to find conservation efforts that are going to ensure the conservation of biodiversity,” he added. “Woodland caribou is a good indicator species of boreal biodiversity.”
He is hoping by concentrating attention and effort to find solutions for caribou, they will help play a role in ensuring the sustainability of the boreal forest.
“Of course, the unique thing about the CBFA is that we are doing it in co-operation and trying to find solutions that will work for communities, work for industry and ensure both the conservation of the boreal as well as opportunities for sustainable development.”