Conservation Cooperation at 40th Conference of Eastern Canadian Premiers and New England Governors
A collection of Canadian and United States conservation organizations applaud the Eastern Canadian Premiers and New England Governors for signing a resolution that recognizes the value of forests and waterways and calls for collaboration across provincial, state and international borders to ensure they remain connected.
The resolution signed is on Ecological Connectivity, Adaptation to Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation. Political representatives from both sides of the border gathered in Boston, Massachusetts at the 40th conference.
The Staying Connected Initiative, which the Nature Conservancy of Canada is a member of, is a unique cross-border public/private partnership of nearly 30 collaborators. Through science, land protection, land use planning, local outreach, policy engagement, and transportation planning, SCI partners work together to ensure a connected landscape for people and nature.
Forests are essential to the vitality of the region’s native wildlife and plants, as well as its human communities, livelihoods, economies, and quality of life. Keeping them connected, particularly in the face of climate change, protects all of these values by bolstering resilience and fostering adaptation.
The vast forest spanning the border of southeastern Canada and the northeastern U.S. is globally important as the most intact, contiguous temperate broadleaf forest in the world. It is home to over five million people in four provinces and five states along with countless native wildlife and plants.
As the climate changes and new development and road infrastructure expand, cross-border collaboration is essential to ensure that the landscape remains connected for both nature and people.
The action of the Eastern Canadian Premiers and New England Governors aligns with cross-border collaboration that led scientists and conservation groups from Canada and the U.S. to form Two Countries, One Forest, a binational conservation organization focused on the protection, conservation and restoration of forests and natural heritage across this region.
Their analyses showed that despite hosting large intact forest blocks, the region risks becoming separated into “ecological islands” unless steps are taken to safeguard forest connectivity across the landscape. This finding led to the formation of the trans-border Staying Connected Initiative (SCI) in 2009 to sustain and enhance landscape connectivity.
“We commend the Premiers and Governors on taking this step to recognize the shared value of the Acadian forest and waterways that link our provinces and states together. Our wide-ranging mammals like moose, lynx and black bear don’t recognize political boundaries, and neither do the impacts of climate change. Working together to ensure our natural ecosystems remain connected and diverse will benefit the health and resiliency of forests and wildlife across the region, as well as our communities that depend on these natural resources,” said Paula Noel, New Brunswick Program Director with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
The conservationists and researchers that work within the Two Countries, One Forest network are very pleased that the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers have made this commitment to work together on the connections among natural areas across our shared borders. This will be a significant step towards conserving the resilience of our forests, rivers and coastlines in the face of climate changes. We are eager to work with our governments to move this resolution toward action on the ground," said Roberta Clowater, Chair of Two Countries, One Forest and Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - New Brunswick Chapter.
The Staying Connected partnership recognizes Vermont Governor, Peter Shumlin, for bringing this resolution forward and advocate for its passage.
“We are grateful to Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin and his team for their leadership on this important initiative. Keeping our forests and waterways connected in Vermont and across our borders is key to sustaining the landscape we love and depend on. This visionary action by our region’s Governors and Premiers provides a vital platform to achieve that goal and will help ensure the vitality of nature and human communities in the face of climate change,” stated Heather Furman, The Nature Conservancy’s Vermont State Director.
“We thank the Governors and Premiers for this catalytic step to safeguard the health and resiliency of the region’s forests and waterways. Our forested landscape is as rich in wildlife as it is vital to our economy and way of life. Working across borders will have far greater impact than working alone. On behalf of SCI’s many partners, we look forward to working with the New England states and eastern Canadian provinces to implement this resolution,” said Jessie Levine of TNC Canada, Coordinator of the Staying Connected Initiative.
For more information visit: www.stayingconnectedinitiative.org
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