Big Reasons To Protect The World’s Largest Forests

Larger than the Brazilian rainforest, the Boreal Forest is essential for preserving the rich variety of life that sustains all of us. It also cleans our air and water and helps to regulate our planet’s climate. So much of a forests’ world remains secret to us — we are still discovering plants deep in the trees that provide life-saving medicines. But we do know many things about our forests. For example, we know that the Boreal is a critical home for the woodland caribou, an iconic Canadian species that once roamed much of North America and is now on the verge of extirpation in many parts of Canada. It is also home to one-third of North America’s songbirds.

ForestEthics advocates, joined by the Junk Mail Monster, stage a public action in San Francisco

ForestEthics advocates, joined by the Junk Mail Monster, stage a public action in San Francisco

Big Protection

On May 18, 2010, ForestEthics, along with eight other leading environmental organizations and 21 forest products companies, embarked on the largest conservation initiative in history: the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The ambitious initiative commences with a moratorium on all logging across more than 70 million acres of rich Boreal Forest, as key parties begin long-term conservation planning over 175 million acres – an area the size of Texas.

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement seeks to conserve critical Boreal Forest land, protect the vulnerable woodland caribou, and implement world-leading forestry practices. While this planning is done, members of the Forest Products Association of Canada will honor a moratorium on logging covering 29 million hectares (71 million acres) of prime caribou habitat – an area the size of New Zealand.

However, the work to protect the Boreal forest, and the species and communities that depend on it, is not finished. We’re working hard to ensure that this agreement protects our forests, pulls endangered caribou back from the brink, and fights climate change.

Big Destruction

One of the reasons that the Boreal requires such big protection is because of the tremendous work it does cleaning our air and water, and providing a home for plants and animals. Another reason is because only 12% of the Boreal is protected, and industry has been busy cutting great swaths of the remaining 88% of it to make things like catalogs and junk mail. In fact, there are plans on the table right now to log 30% of it.

While we work to maximize the protection of the Boreal forest and woodland caribou habitat in Canada, we will continue working to better the paper and privacy practices of catalogers and junk mailers in the US as we have with companies such as Victoria’s Secret. Corporate junk mailers still stuff American mailboxes with more than 1 billion pieces of mail each year — largely pieces of mail that people did not ask for and do not want.

 And, junk mail does more than simply invade our homes and waste our time. Junk mail also puts us at risk of identity theft, destroys forests, contributes to climate change, and creates more waste for landfills. Much of the woodland caribou habitat is currently off-limits to logging due to the historic Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. This agreement has the potential to transform Canadian logging for catalogs and junk mail into a more environmentally responsible industry through planning for caribou conservation and by securing permanently protected areas.