Broadback Forest Conservation Solution Profiled at Prestigious Skoll World Forum
Waswanipi Cree Deputy Chief joins Canopy to shine light on Boreal landscape of hope
April 6, 2017: Oxford, UK – Waswanipi Cree Deputy Chief Mandy Gull and Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of award winning not-for-profit Canopy, will be using their appearance at the Skoll World Forum in the UK to build further international support for the Waswanipi Cree’s conservation plan for the Broadback Forest. The Quebec government is yet to deliver on their commitment to expand protection in the Waswanipi traditional lands, which are also important habitat for endangered Woodland Caribou. The Skoll World Forum is a gathering of many of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, impact investors, philanthropists, academics, government and corporate decision makers.
“It’s been two years since the Quebec government made a commitment to expand protection in the Broadback Forest and almost 15 years since the Waswanipi have been leading this fight to protect their traditional lands,”‘ said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. “In addition to building awareness and support for the Waswanipi’s quest for conservation with large international customers, Canopy is bringing their issue to this influential Skoll group who are dedicated to making the world a better place.”
Located in the heart of Canada’s Boreal, the Broadback Forest is a thriving ecosystem of lakes, rivers and old growth spruce and pine forests. It is excellent habitat for critically endangered Woodland Caribou and is a significant carbon storehouse in its trees and soils. It covers more than 13,000 km2 (3.2 million acres), an area 8 times the size of London, England.
“My community is committed to securing protection for the last 10% of forests left intact in our traditional territory,” said Mandy Gull, Deputy Chief of Waswanipi First Nation. “Our culture is inseparable from the land, so we welcome Premier Couillard acting on the province’s protection commitment by the end of 2017.”
Two thirds of the Broadback have been set aside for protection as of 2015. In 2012, a scientific report recommended protection of the ’Mishigamish’ area to reinforce ecological safeguards for endangered Woodland Caribou. The Waswanipi Cree First Nation, with support from Canopy and dozens of forest product purchasing companies, are advocating for this final conservation increment to be legislated.
Currently, there is remarkable cohesion between typically divergent parties for conservation of the Broadback including First Nations, NGO’s, scientists and logging companies. The circumstances are set for government to finalize this unique and globally meaningful conservation legacy.
Gull and Rycroft will speak at the Saïd Business School in Oxford on April 7 in a session titled “Rights and Resources: Indigenous Communities and Environmental Conservation” along side of speakers from Guatemala and Italy.