On this the second annual International Day of Forests, the Green Party of Canada highlighted the critical importance of our nation’s forests both to Canadians and to the world. With ten percent of the planet’s forests, Canada is truly a forest nation. Yet our forests face multiple threats.
“Canada’s boreal forest is one of the largest and most ecologically significant ecosystems on the planet,” said Bruce Hyer, Green Deputy Leader and MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, an ecologist with an MSc in Forestry. “Covering the majority of our country, forests from the taiga to deciduous woodlands to temperate rainforests have shaped our history, our culture, and our way of life. They are essential for rural and Aboriginal economies, and provide a rich bounty for the forest sector, for hunting, fishing, eco-tourism and recreation. Forests continue to play a central role in our identity as Canadians. It is incumbent upon us to steward this legacy responsibly, so that future generations in Canada may continue to treasure this natural heritage.”
Canada’s forests are a significant global carbon reservoir, storing carbon in forest soils as well as in the trees themselves. Due to the impacts of climate change, warmer and drier conditions and the spread of insects, such as the devastating pine beetle, scientists now say our forests are no longer a net carbon sink. Globally, loss of forest cover contributes about 25% of climate change and global biodiversity loss. It is estimated that each year, the world loses nearly 13 million hectares of forest.
“With the evisceration of the habitat provisions of the Fisheries Act, one of the only federal levers to protect intact forest ecosystems has been removed. With the litany of over-due species recovery plans, key federal responsibility for forest dependent species at risk, such as the woodland caribou, is also being abdicated. We do have an obligation to preserve forest ecosystems, both for the sake of global biodiversity and to contribute to carbon sequestration,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands.