8.12% of the territory now protected
“QUÉBEC PASSES A HISTORIC MILESTONE IN THE PROTECTION OF ITS BIODIVERSITY ”
Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, March 29, 2009. – Québec Premier Jean Charest, accompanied by Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks Line Beauchamp, today announced that Québec has brought the size of its protected areas to 135,326 km2, which is equal to 8.12% of its territory, thus exceeding the objective of 8% that was set by the government in its Strategic Action Plan.
“As an illustration of the magnitude of the task we have just accomplished, the area of territory we have protected is a little greater that the total combined size of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Québec has just sprinted across the finish line in the race to protect representative biodiversity on its territory. In terms of total area, we have passed a historic milestone by joining the ranks of the States with the highest levels of protected areas in North America,” declared the premier.
Today’s announcement materializes the government’s commitment to occupy, develop and protect Northern Québec. Moreover, Québec intends to use this means of the development of its North as an international model for sustainable development. With the creation of the fourteen new proposed protected areas, located for the most part in the North and covering a total area of 18,043 km2, and the expansion of a fifteenth, the network now counts some 2,500 protected areas that meet the highest standards set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Establishing this network is tangible evidence of Québec’s will to protect the riches of its natural environments in a spirit of sustainable development.
“By voluntarily focusing the construction of its network on criteria based on including all of its ecosystems, Québec has held true to its commitment to safeguard the distinctive ecological characteristics of its territory. It goes without saying that in the years since 2003, our government has made colossal efforts in order to succeed in creating a network of this size and quality,” stressed Minister Beauchamp.
The Minister took advantage of the occasion to announce that permanent protection status has been granted to five proposed protected areas, two located in the Gaspé (Estuaire-de-la-Rivière-Bonaventure and Karst-de-Saint-Elzéar), two on the North Shore (Météorite and Uapishka) and one in Abitibi–Témiscamingue (Caribous-de-Val-d’Or). Minister Beauchamp also announced two new proposed ecological reserves, Tourbière-de-Shannon (one of the only significant protected wetlands in the Capitale-Nationale region, and Mont-Gosford, which will help maintain rare border mountain forest systems of l’Estrie in their natural state.
The list of new protected areas is appended and may also be consulted on the web site of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs: www.mddefp.gouv.qc.ca.
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