1.18 Green forest vision

by Craig Cantin | November 29, 2011 11:30 am

green-forest

Canada’s incredible forest heritage – 300 million hectares or 10% of all the world’s forests – is a source of enormous national pride and economic value. Thirty per cent of the world’s boreal forests grow in Canada and this great northern forest ecosystem, covering half of our country, acts as a huge carbon reservoir and sink.

The value of these forests is difficult to measure, but can be expressed in several ways: the wood and paper products industries directly employ over 350 000 people and generate over $58 billion in sales annually – more than half our annual trade surplus. Economists estimate the value of carbon stored in Canada’s boreal forest at $3.7 trillion, but arguably it is priceless.

The Green Party understands that forests are the foundation of complex ecological systems performing important services that purify our air and water, prevent floods and erosion, and stabilize our climate. Two-thirds of Canada’s plant and animal species live in forests. Large expanses of forest, especially old growth forests, must remain intact to maintain natural habitats and biodiversity. Our forests also sustain subsistence hunters and those who seek recreation and rejuvenation in the wilderness.

Canada cuts about 500 000 hectares of forest a year. While the forest industry has taken serious hits over the last decade, its economic impact is important to communities across Canada. Although forest management is under provincial jurisdiction, the federal government once played an important role in R&D and technological innovation. The federal government has largely withdrawn from its historical role in primary research with the closure of Canadian Forest Service research centres across Canada. The lapsing of funding for the Model Forest Program is another sign of the Harper Administration’s lack of commitment to the forest industry.

Canada is devoting very little attention to improving wood quality relative to Europe and UK, which would be a legitimate target for research by Industry Canada, the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), and National Research Council (NRC).

Working within the Canadian Boreal Initiative’s corporate, First Nations, and conservation framework, we will also ensure that at least half of Canada’s boreal forest is protected, while all is maintained in a state of ecological integrity. Its value as a carbon reservoir will far outweigh short-term economic gains from logging it.

 Green Party MPs will:

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Source URL: http://elizabethmaymp.ca/vision-green/p1.18