Mining in the Old Growth Forests of Ontario’s Temagami

Years ago, the Ontario government promised to turn the old growth red pine forests of Ontario’s Temagami region into a provincial park. The catch was that they first had to wait for old mining claims in the area to lapse. But last year a small Calgary-based company renewed one of its mining claims in the Temagami, putting hopes of a park in jeopardy. Today we talk to long time resident Bruce Hodgins about what the move will mean for the area. We also take a look at the environmental problems that arise from palm oil plantations, and we’ll hear about the benefits of back yard composting and how you can get started. All that, plus a visit by the Raging Grannies, in this week’s edition of Terra Informa.

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Anima Nipissing Lake in the Temagami region of Ontario. Photo by Robert Body.

The Toronto Star recently revealed that Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources wants to open up 340 acres of red pine forest in northern Ontario’s Temagami region for mining. The Wolf Lake Forest Reserve is part of what’s believed to be North America’s largest old-growth red pine forest. It’s one of many relatively undisturbed areas the provincial government promised years ago to turn into provincial parks once old mining claims there lapsed. That’s how the Chiniguchi Waterway Park beside the Wolf Lake reserve was created. But the small Calgary-based company Flag Resources renewed one of its mining claims in Wolf Lake last year, and it appears the Ministry of Natural Resources would like to support its activity there. They’ve said that if the reserve is reclassified for “general use,” they’ll be adding other land to Chiniguchi Waterway Park to replace it. We spoke to Bruce Hodgins, the President of Temagami’s Camp Wanapitei, to find out more. Hodgins was arrested when he was part of a peaceful protest in 1989 against expansion of logging near Camp Wanapitei, and is very concerned about the plans to allow more mining in the Wolf Lake area.

More on this story: CBC News , Sudbury Star, CBC Archives (1990), OtterTooth

Tropical deforestation poses threats to global biodiversity and the livelihoods of forest peoples. It is also a driver of climate change, as the tropical forests store much more carbon than the land covers that typically replace them. In the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, logging is frequently followed by conversion to palm oil plantations. An industry moratorium on buying soybeans from deforested areas in Brazil that began in 2006 greatly diminished soy’s role as an agent of deforestation, and proved that reducing the demand for commodities that drive deforestation is effective at limiting further deforestation. The Union of Concerned Scientists hopes that a similar strategy will work with palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia. Rebecca Rooney brings us the full story.

More on this story: Huffington Post, Madison and Rhiannon vs the Girl Scouts, Project ORANGS, Girls Scout Cookies FAQ – Palm Oil

North Americans households are notorious for the amount of garbage they produce, but did you know that there’s a simple, painless way to put a huge dent in the amount of material you send to the landfill? For the average home, somewhere around 40% of solid waste is organic material. That means that an earthworm composter under the kitchen sink or a compost heap in the backyard can cut by almost half the number of garbage bags you put out on the curb each week. To find out a little more about composting and how it works, we caught up with Anna Vesala. She completed the City of Edmonton’s three week Master Composter & Recycler program several years ago, and now provides information about waste reduction at community events around the city

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One comment

  1. We in Temagami do not need another provincial park. Mining is our heritage and will be for the time being. Temagami supports mining!

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