Monday, 11 June 2018
The World's Largest FSC-Certified Forest Welcomes the World's Largest Boreal Protected Network to the Neighbourhood
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Al-Pac) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are pleased to welcome the creation and expansion of five wildland provincial parks in northeast Alberta. This is the largest addition to the Alberta Parks system in its history, and collectively creates the largest contiguous protected boreal forest in the world.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., located in Boyle, Alberta, currently manages the worlds largest contiguous FSC-certified forest at 5.9 million hectares, which now borders with the new 6.7-million-hectare protected network. Jointly these two land bases boast an impressive 12.6 million hectares of socially and environmentally responsible forest operations and management.
“Al-Pac has long recognized the importance of conservation areas as an integral part of managing human activity in the boreal forest for the long-term benefit of both biodiversity and the economy.” – Dr. Elston Dzus, Forest Ecologist, Al-Pac
Protected areas and working landscapes are complimentary to each other, and an integral component of a landscape solution to conservation. Through FSC-certification, Al-Pac has been able to deliver positive environmental and social impacts, and engage communities in it’s forest management planning. Al-Pac’s environmentally responsible operations include implementing an ecosystem-based forest management system to maintain biodiversity, and a commitment to identify and promote candidate conservation areas for consideration by local governments. Al-Pac had deferred harvest from more than 200,000 hectares of forest; part of this area is now included in the worlds largest protected network.
These combined land bases provide a solution space for caribou conservation and consultation with Indigenous peoples. FSC Canada is currently revising its Forest Management Standard which will include indicators on managing species at risk to the realities in Canada in 2018.
"How to address the effects of forest management practices on woodland caribou has emerged in recent years as an issue of significant debate in Canada. Populations of woodland caribou are particularly sensitive to habitat disturbances and act as a flagship species in Canada’s boreal. This means that they reflect the health of the boreal forest as a whole," explains Francois Dufresne, President, FSC Canada. As a result, FSC Canada has drafted an indicator dedicated entirely to woodland caribou to help in the conservation of this very important species while ensuring viable implementation on the ground.
“Al-Pac continues to be a proponent of developing collaborative solutions to integrated land management and caribou conservation. In addition to the Government of Alberta seeking additional time on the range planning file, the new protected network will assist in allowing us to examine innovative, cross sector strategies to address the many interrelated factors involved in the complex issue of caribou conservation.”- Margaret Donnelly, Forest Ecologist, Al-Pac.