Global Forest Watch Canada publishes a new instalment in a series on the environmental impacts of Canada’s major energy sectors and calls for a Canada energy strategy that includes good environmental information
This bulletin contains evidence of the extent to which industrial developments are threatening woodland caribou (boreal population) in Canada's jurisdictions, especially in Alberta's oil sands region. This bulletin is part of a series by Global Forest Watch Canada to address the geographic distribution and key environmental impacts of Canada's energy sectors.
Documents newly filed to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition say Shell Canada's environmental study of its proposed Jackpine Mine expansion is seriously deficient as it underestimates industrial impacts on the landscape by a factor of 12. The documents were prepared using maps and analysis by Global Forest Watch Canada.
This study was conducted because the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) expressed concerns about the potential devastating effects of industrial developments on woodland caribou within their traditional territory (in the James Bay region of northern Québec). The first report finds that with the current increasing rate of industrial disturbances in combination with forest fires, the prospect of these caribou supporting self-sustaining local populations in the near future appears to be declining rapidly. The second report maps restoration-protection opportunities for the caribou.
At the International Society of Conservation Biology Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2011, representatives from the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) in Québec, Canada presented on the dramatic scientific evidence produced by Global Forest Watch Canada in these reports.
The Alberta Government's recently announced Draft Lower Athabasca Regional Plan 2011-2021 allocates much more area to oil sands leases than to conservation areas for whooping cranes and woodland caribou, according to this Global Forest Watch Canada report.
Global Forest Watch Canada provides comments on the Nova Scotia government's proposed boundaries for the Kelley River and Raven Head Candidate Wilderness Areas in the Chignecto region. We found that the Chignecto region is the only area in the province with more than 20,000 ha of intact forest landscapes not having a core protected area. The two candidate wilderness areas protect a significant portion of the intact forest landscapes in the Chignecto area, but additional adjacent intact forest landscapes still remain unprotected, including a substantial amount on crown land.
This report maps historical records of whooping crane flight paths and landing points in relation to Alberta's bitumen (oil) sands region. Whooping cranes have regularly flown over and landed within Alberta's oil sands region. Their migration route intersects with areas leased to and developed by oil sands companies, including the surface mineable area and its associated facilities, mine pits and tailings ponds. Several factors present in the oil sands region, including exposure to tailings ponds, poses a threat to the survival and recovery of the Canadian wild whooping crane population.
This study found that Canada has set aside only 8.5 percent (84.5 million hectares) of its land mass in permanent protected areas. This is more than four percent lower than the global average of 12.9 percent and more than six percent lower than the United States at 14.8 percent. The report also offers the first assessment of some of the significant recent progress in protecting Canada's wilderness between 2000 and 2010, the first decade of the 21st century.