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Forests, Carbon and Wildlife Habitat

Deer © Howard Sandler

Ontario’s forests – spanning 70 million hectares – provide us with many crucial ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and climate regulation. Since 1970, minimum temperatures have risen by 2.6°C in northern Ontario and by 1.4°C in southern Ontario, and now pose a serious threat to biodiversity and human well-being. Many species, including moose, migratory birds and cold-water fish are already experiencing negative impacts.

As part of Ontario’s 2016 Climate Change Action Plan, the Province initiated the Forest Carbon Policy project. This project will help determine how Ontario’s public forests will contribute to the plan, through both forest management strategies and conservation.

We are strong supporters of requirements for Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from Indigenous communities. We support emerging commercial and conservation opportunities associated with Ontario’s Forest Carbon Policy that represent an important opportunity to reconcile historic inequalities in sharing natural resources.

What We’re Doing

We are working to ensure forests protect wildlife habitat and store carbon while continuing to provide benefits to local communities. Through our collaboration with local conservation organizations and members of Indigenous communities, we document the increasing vulnerability of species. Factors include changing climate conditions, the adaptive capacity of forest ecosystems and the effectiveness of various conservation strategies. We sit on the Province’s Forest Carbon Technical Working Group, which is part of the Five-year Climate Change Action Plan.