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Conserve forests to tackle climate change

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Conserve forests to tackle climate change
British Columbia's fight against climate change should focus on conserving at least 50 per cent of its land base using new strategies for nature conservation and carbon storage, says a new peer-reviewed report by senior ecologist Dr. Jim Pojar.


January 29, 2010
By Canadian Biomass

Jan. 29, 2010, Vancouver – British Columbia's fight against climate change should
focus on conserving at least 50% of its land base using new strategies for
nature conservation and carbon storage, says a new peer-reviewed report by
senior ecologist Dr. Jim Pojar.

“A
minimum conservation target of 50% is what's necessary to give our plants and
animals a fighting chance to adapt, while also keeping and drawing more carbon
out of the atmosphere so that, over time, we can slow and reduce climate change,”
says Pojar.

The
50% figure emphasizes expansion and connection of existing protected areas plus
development of new buffer zones and restoration areas, allowing sustainable
resource development while providing refuge for species and ecosystems across a
changing landscape. Additionally, because forestry economics are changing
dramatically, British Columbia should look to opportunities opening for
conservation as a means of reinventing the industry of the future.

There
are precedents for large-scale conservation in Canada. Ontario and Quebec have
made commitments to protect more than 50% of their northern boreal regions, and
British Columbia has its own successful examples to build on, including Haida
Gwaii and the Great Bear Rainforest. Benefits of large-scale conservation
include greater clarity for where and how resource development occurs, as well
as economic and social benefits like ecosystem services (e.g., clean air and
water) and new markets for carbon and conservation.

The
report is the second in less than a month to suggest that British Columbia
needs to change the way it manages its environment in response to climate
change.


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