Canadas boreal forest primed to be worlds best-protected ecosystem



Canada's boreal forest is on track to become the world's best-protected ecosystem, says paper slated to be presented this week at an international conference on conversation issues.

About 4.4 million of the country's 5.5 million square kilometres of boreal forest are intact, said Steve Kallick, director of the Pew Environment Group's boreal campaign. Approximately two-thirds of that - or about three million square kilometres - could be protected.

Kallick, along with colleague Gary Stewart, will present a paper Monday at the International Congress for Conservation Biology, being hosted this year in Edmonton. Their report asks whether this country's boreal forest could become the world's best-protected ecosystem.

'It's already more protected, we believe, than any other intact forest ecosystem in the world - more than the Amazon, more than Siberia,' said Kallick. 'But we think it's on track to be way beyond what anybody's anticipating for those other places.'

Yet Kallick offers a few words of caution.

'This is not all done, by any means. It's a whole spectrum of things, from completed and approved new national parks, to lands that are subject to the Forest Products Association agreement that we signed a few weeks ago.'

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