Protecting The Largest Forests

Photo courtesy Valerie Courtois, Canadian Boreal Initiative. Migratory tundra caribou in the boreal region of Quebec migrate hundreds of miles and require large tracts of protected wilderness.

Photo courtesy Valerie Courtois, Canadian Boreal Initiative. Migratory tundra caribou in the boreal region of Quebec migrate hundreds of miles and require large tracts of protected wilderness.

Thanks to Krishna Ramanujan for this story in the Cornell Chronicle about the new mega-scale of conservation planning:

At least half of Canada’s 1.4 billion acre boreal forest, the largest remaining intact wilderness on Earth, must be protected to maintain the area’s current wildlife and ecological systems, according to a report by an international panel of 23 experts.

The report, published by the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel, was released July 22, the same day that panel members made recommendations to protect Canada’s vast wild lands at a symposium at the International Congress for Conservation Biology, hosted by the Pew Charitable Trust, in Baltimore.

The goal is to protect these ecosystems before oil, gas, mining and lumber companies develop areas and extract natural resources, which often fragment and degrade previously pristine land, said Jeff Wells, Ph.D. ’96, associate scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and panel member.

“Elsewhere, [conservationists] are trying to stem the losses by protecting little pieces of land, or by restoring remnants to what they used to be,” by spending large amounts of money after development has already begun, said Wells, who is science adviser to Pew’s international boreal conservation campaign.

The new guidelines for conserving such large natural areas far exceed the previous science-based standard of protecting 10 percent to 12 percent of land to maintain wildlife. New science, including computer models that calculate the minimum amount of land necessary to support many species and their interactions, led to the revised guidelines, Wells said.

The report recommends that members of some 600 aboriginal communities in Canada should lead decisions and play major roles in planning where and how to conserve land. In this way, Canada can take their lead from Australia, where 58 Indigenous Protected Areas cover more than 120 million acres – an area larger than California – and employ close to 700 indigenous people in a ranger program. Such programs combine Western science while bringing in indigenous knowledge about hunting areas, sacred sites, key conservation areas and suggestions for economic development.

Read the rest of the story here.

One thought on “Protecting The Largest Forests

  1. Pingback: Be for Boreal Forests | Raxa Collective

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