Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Canopy forest campaign withdraws from Boreal Forest agreement, citing no meaningful progress

Canopy, the forest markets campaign organization has announced that it is withdrawing from the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA), mostly because the alliance with forest industry companies and organizations has proved toothless and ineffective when it comes to preserving forestlands and wildlife. Essentially, Canopy is saying that its logging partners have been dragging their feet. 
"Despite our best efforts, not a single acre of Boreal Forestland across 170 million acres has been legislated into protection or even recommended for protection jointly by the environmental and industry caucuses," the organization said in a release. "Nor has the process succeeded in developing more than one Caribou Action Plan for the 51 herds of this threatened and iconic species. In addition, the deferrals and areas of suspended harvest that were a cornerstone of the agreement expired in 2012 and while offering assurances that deferrals remain in place, the forest industry members have consistently declined to provide maps or identify areas where harvest suspensions remain in place or where harvesting may have resumed."
Canopy says it has always focussed on getting concrete results from brokering and negotiating meaningful change, ranging from the greening of the Harry Potter books through creating Second Harvest paper from wheat straw waste and such agreements as Torstar's environmental purchasing policy, recently announced. The organization intends to shift its focus to a reinvigorated, independent markets campaign and a push to protect Quebec's Broadback Valley Forest.
Three Cree First Nations have recently declared strong support for protection for this biologically rich, intact forest within their traditional territories. The three major tenure holders in the region are, at present, on record as supporting the suspension of logging operations in the region. The Quebec government is in the process of implementing a new forest management regime. The coalescence of all these factors has opened the door to a tremendous and potentially short-lived opportunity to secure meaningful, large-scale and lasting protection of more than 60% of this high-priority boreal landscape. We hope to capitalize on this opportunity over the coming months.
The CBFA was announced in May 2010; it was an agreement between 9 conservation groups and the  21 member companies of the Forest Products Association (FPAC). The agreement covered about 66% of the commercial forests in a broad swath across Canada. There was an initial agreement to suspend logging on 29 million hectares of boreal forest (an area the size of Italy). In return, the conservation groups have agreed to suspend their "Do Not Buy" campaigns led by Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), Forest Ethics and Greenpeace.

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