Friday, September 22, 2006

New satellite images taken from space show Ontario is allowing among the largest clearcuts in the world to take place in caribou habitat

Meanwhile, the provincial government continues to publicly declare Ontario a "world leader" in forestry practices. Satellite images obtained from the United States Geological Survey show five clearcuts all larger than 260 ha within the Trout Lake Forest of Northwest Ontario. The region - which is critical caribou habitat - was logged and roaded as late as May 23, 2006. Meanwhile, Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay has denied the occurrence of large-scale logging in the province. One month after the May 23, 2006, clearcut was made in Trout Lake, he told the Toronto Sun, "We're making sure that we're a world leader in forestry practices. We keep our cuts quite small nowadays."

"These images of recent clearcuts are proof the Ontario government hasbeen lying to the public by saying it keeps its clearcuts small," said Leah Henderson, Boreal Forest Campaigner at ForestEthics. "The truth is much of Ontario's Boreal forest is slated to be clearcut logged or mined in the nextfew years - and without the immediate protection of critical caribou range, the species is in for a fight for survival."

According to a 2004 Yale University report entitled Global Environmental Forest Policies, in Russia, the only other country other than Canada with large areas of intact Boreal Forest, the official maximum size for industrial clearcuts is 50 hectares (ha). In Ontario, official clearcut size restriction is five times greater at 260 ha, while 20 per cent of the forest cover is allowed unlimited size clearcuts, some as large as 750 ha. British Columbia restricts its clearcuts to 50 hectares and Quebec law requires they be no larger than 100 ha.

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