Forest Conservation Pact Failing: Environmentalists
By Lynn Moore, The Montreal Gazette, May 17
MONTREAL - A landmark forest conservation agreement, which involves tracts of Quebec boreal forest, is getting failing grades from key environment groups.
The 2010 pact, which saw a truce between forestry companies, hasn’t delivered, according to a status report by Canopy, Greenpeace and ForestEthics.
“There are no new protected areas of endangered forests, no defined protections for endangered caribou and no improvements to forest practices,” the three parties to the agreement said in a status report.
On the second anniversary of the three-year pact, 58 of 75 milestones have not been reached and only 10 were delivered on time, the groups said.
“Everyone had good intentions two years ago, but this update is a wake-up call that we have a collective responsibility to deliver on the promises of boreal forest protection and improved forest practices within a meaningful time frame,” Greenpeace spokesperson Stephanie Goodwin said in a statement.
The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society both said Wednesday they remain optimistic about the future of the agreement they signed.
“It is absolutely the intent of industry to maintain its commitments ... and we are doing so,” Mark Hubert, FPAC’s vice-president, said from Ottawa.
“To focus on what hasn’t happened ... belies the fact that there is a very massive amount of positive work” that has been accomplished collectively, he said.
The ambitious conservation agreement among nine environmental organizations and 18 member companies of FPAC aimed to protect almost 29 million hectares of forest, conserve threatened species and sustain a healthy forest industry.
The bedrock was to be logging deferrals and the suspension of “do not buy” campaigns by Greenpeace, ForestEthics and Canopy.
One of the agreement’s priority areas is a 5.5-million-hectare swath known as the Valley of the White Mountain Region. That territory was to be the subject of an agreement as to the number of hectares to be protected and areas of harvest.
Those agreements were to be set by November 2010, then November 2011 and then by this Friday, Canopy director Nicole Rycroft said from her Vancouver office.
“Logging has continued during the course of the past two years and our negotiations,” Rycroft said.
Resolute Forest Products Inc., the former AbitibiBowater and a signatory to the boreal-protection agreement, is logging in that priority area, Rycroft said. Not so, Resolute said.