American friends, Canadian expats and many others who care about Canada’s magnificent boreal forest were introduced to the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) at a San Francisco event co-hosted by Canada’s Consul General in San Francisco and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) yesterday.

The gathering, which took place at the Consul General’s official residence, provided an opportunity to introduce the work of the CBFA south of the border – in particular, the CBFA’s collaborative efforts with the forestry industry, environmental organizations, municipalities and Aboriginal groups, to secure the health and long-term future of Canada’s boreal forest.

“We are facing a global climate crisis. We know that intact forest ecosystems are one key to managing that crisis, as well as to maintaining the biodiversity that is critical to the planet’s wellbeing,” said Canada’s Consul General to San Francisco Brandon Lee in welcoming the audience to his home.

Eric Hébert-Daly, national executive director of CPAWS – Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of Canada’s public land and water, explained why CPAWS and other prominent Canadian environmental organizations are involved with the CBFA.

“The CBFA is the most ambitious conservation agreement in the world, and as such, it’s unexplored territory for everyone involved,” Hébert-Daly told the audience, which included American environmental supporters and successful Canadians working in the Silicon Valley.

He praised the respect the CBFA has shown “for the natural world in all the diverse stakeholders who are coming together through the CBFA to ensure that our forests are healthy and sustainably managed for generations to come.”

He also spoke of the progress the CBFA has made in making recommendations to establish a network of parks and protected areas to keep critical habitat intact; fast-tracking plans to help species at risk recover; and taking action on climate change as it relates to forest conservation.

Mark Hubert, vice president of environmental leadership for the Forest Products Association of Canada, spoke from the industry perspective saying the work of the CBFA is helping to differentiate the Canadian forestry industry in the global marketplace, by showcasing its world-leading commitment to sustainability.

“This work is also contributing to Canada’s forestry industry transforming itself from its traditional role as hewers of wood to a truly renewable and responsible source of eco-friendly high-tech materials, as advances in technology are making wood a desirable material,” said Hubert.