Environmental groups welcome new efforts to protect Quebec’s Broadback Forest

Image: Canopy.
Image: Canopy.

Quebec City – Environmental not-for-profit Canopy and large global forest product customers welcomed an announcement of additional protection in the Broadback Forest by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come.

The 1.3 million acres (543,600 ha) of globally significant Boreal Forest and lakes will be protected in addition to the Assinica Cultural Heritage Park protecting a total of 2.3 million acres (913 400 ha). Boreal logging is rife with controversy due to the precipitous decline of woodland caribou herds and the lack of a robust protected areas network.

“This step to protect a significant area of the Broadback Forest will be welcomed by our global business partners who have joined us to consistently encourage a conservation solution in the region,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy founder and executive director. “The Boreal requires a series of large-scale, ecologically significant forests to be conserved across the country. The Broadback decision is a step towards that goal and we expect to see other governments with Boreal Forests under their jurisdiction follow suit.”

In a competitive forest products marketplace companies are increasingly seeking a supply of sustainable forest products. This announcement sets Quebec on a path to be recognized as a responsible sourcing region, striving to balance scientifically sound conservation requirements with business, social and cultural needs. Global leaders in the newspaper, book publishing, telecommunications, magazine, office retail and clothing sectors have worked with Canopy in recent years to advocate for conservation of the Broadback Forest.

“We and our market partners look forward to celebrating the fulfilment of this legacy,” added Melissa Filion, Canopy’s Quebec director. “We expect that the next immediate step will be that the Government will develop a detailed and time-bound plan to complete the full Broadback conservation package. That plan, totalling 3.2 million acres (1.3 million ha), was proposed seven years ago by the Cree and is broadly supported by environmental groups.”

Combined with the Assinica Cultural Heritage Park, the Broadback Forest will approach the scientifically recommended minimum habitat conservation size of 2.4 million acres (1 million ha) of contiguous intact forest needed to maintain healthy populations of woodland caribou and curb the species’ decline towards extinction.

The Broadback Forest, in the traditional territory of the Cree Nation, is rich in biodiversity with large tracts of vibrant forest storing carbon and helping to regulate global climate. The total area that is now protected in the Broadback is equal to an area eight times the size of New York City.

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