Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Boreal forest agreement talks break down

Negotiations towards an agreement to protect Canada's boreal forest have broken down, according to a Canadian Press story carried by Maclean's. Three years of effort have come to nothing as two of the seven environmental organizations involved -- Greenpeace and Canopy -- pulled out, saying they had nothing to show for their efforts in preserving forestlands and wildlife. 

Canopy, in particular, said virtually nothing had been accomplished in protecting threatened woodland caribou. It said, in effect, that its logging partners had been dragging their feet.

The agreement in principle, when it was announced in May 2010, expressed a hope to reconcile the need for wood and wood products, such as magazine paper, and the need for protecting endangered habitat and wildlife. There was an initial agreement to suspend logging on 29 million hectares of boreal forest (an area the size of Italy) representing about 66% of boreal forests in a broad swath across Canada. In return, the conservation groups agreed to suspend their "Do Not Buy" campaigns led by Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), Forest Ethics and Greenpeace.

Resolute Forest Products said that it was disappointed the participants (which included 19 forest companies) couldn't come to an agreement in what the Forest Products Association of Canada described as the largest, most complex deal of its kind ever reached anywhere in the world. Resolute said that it had made a series of proposals, including setting aside 204,000 hectares of Northwestern Ontario forest for conservation and 12% or 692,000 hectares of Quebec forest. 

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