"A major environmental group, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, is calling on Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach to set aside from development more than half the area in and around the oil sands to prevent the region's dwindling caribou herds from being wiped out."
"In a letter to the Premier on Monday, the group said placing large parts of bitumen-rich northeastern Alberta off-limits to development would help the province repair some of the damage the oil sands have inflicted on its global image."
“Protection of caribou and wildlife habitat would send a strong message to the entire world that we in Alberta do intend to meet our commitments to sustainable resource development and maintenance of our biodiversity,” the letter said."
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According to the article at: http://oilsandstruth.org/quotstudy-highlights-need-conservationquot
"A recent study conducted by the Canadian Boreal Initiative entitled "Boreal Forest Conservation Framework" is highlighting the need to conserve this refuge as advancing development threatens the very wildlife the forest has shielded for millennia.
The University of Alberta’s Dr. Brad Stelfox and Dr. Erin Bayne teamed with the CBI’s science co-ordinator Matt Carlson, to pen the document which explores the forest’s relationship with songbirds and the woodland caribou.
The report, unveiled at the U of A Jan. 31, examined that relationship and the detrimental effects to two specific regions in the forest if a business-as-usual approach to development continued. The Mackenzie Basin watershed may be profoundly altered and risks regional extinction of woodland caribou as well as a sharp decline in bird populations.
“What we did was use computer models to look at the future effects of development in the Mackenzie watershed,” said Carlson.
The team documented and analyzed the oil sands of northeastern Alberta already rift with extensive industrial development and the relatively undeveloped and under-populated Dehcho territory of the southern Northwest Territories.
The report was not intended to impede development, but to bring to light the need to preserve half of the boreal area to sustain wildlife and to responsibly steward the remainder.
In conjunction with the U of A and Forem Technologies, the CBI’s blueprint for the boreal seeks to find the balance between the inevitable development and the natural habitat’s role pertaining to caribou and songbirds.
“We find that as development expands in the region, the boreal forest is likely to decline while the area of industrial disturbances will increase. The woodland caribou would disappear from this region,” Carlson said.
Computer simulations concluded that growing industrial disturbances would fragment intact areas of older forest. These changes would eliminate woodland caribou populations in the region and would reduce the abundance of songbirds, such as the black-throated green warbler, by as much as 60 per cent."
" Oil sands mining has left swathes of forest removed, fragmenting the habitat of the native caribou. Shell has promised to restore the habitat, yet no reclaimed land has been certified.
"The Canadian Boreal Forest alone stores 186 billion tonnes of carbon - equivalent to 27 years of the world's carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels. In digging up the forest, the peat wetlands are disturbed, releasing greenhouse gases and disturbing the earth’s balance."
"In situ extraction of oil sands does not require mining, but the extensive infrastructure to generate and inject steam underground and bring out the liquefied tar sprawls across the landscape. As a result up to 80% of these areas may be lost as viable habitat for caribou, who avoid open areas."
source of image: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/648357/posts