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PNS Daily Newscast - November 12, 2018 


The election recount spotlight is on Florida, with three hotly contested races. Also on the Monday rundown: Can women sustain their record election gains? And a bill in Congress would help fund preservation of historic sites.

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Report: Birds are Big Business, Need Greater Protection

IMAGE: Protecting Canada's boreal forest also protects America's multi-billion dollar bird-hunting and bird-watching industries. CREDIT: Boreal Songbird Initiative
IMAGE: Protecting Canada's boreal forest also protects America's multi-billion dollar bird-hunting and bird-watching industries. CREDIT: Boreal Songbird Initiative
May 5, 2014

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Whether you enjoy bird-watching in the spring or bird-hunting in the fall, a new report says birds are multi-billion-dollar economic drivers and protecting them also requires protecting Canada's boreal forest.

The Seattle-based Boreal Songbird Initiative says in order to play its role as the bird nursery of North America, at least half of the massive Canadian forest must be kept free of large-scale industrial development.

Jeff Wells, the group's science and policy director, says it's an achievable goal.

"Fortunately in the boreal forest, we have one place where that's much easier to do, because it's still 70 percent intact," he says. "Most of the world is nowhere near even 50 percent intact, in the ecosystems that you're looking at."

The report says bird hunting is an almost $7 billion annual business in the U.S. alone, and bird-watchers spend more than $40 billion a year on travel and equipment.

Wells says Americans' buying choices can have a major effect on what happens in the boreal forest, because U.S. consumers are the chief recipients of Canadian exports.

For most Americans, it's out of sight, out of mind, but the boreal forest spans millions of miles around the northern hemisphere. It makes up about 60 percent of the land in Canada and is home to a longtime timber trade, rich mineral deposits and even diamonds.

It's a constant struggle for Canadians to balance these extractive industries with conservation, Wells says.

"With mining, there's a lot of infrastructure," he explains. "You've got to build railroads and roads to move the products around. And of course, there's oil and gas in the western boreal forest. So, there's lots of different kinds of industry, spread pretty much across the whole boreal forest."

The report was issued jointly with Ducks Unlimited in the U.S. and Canada. It says bird populations already are facing the effects of climate change, which has reduced their habitat for nesting and breeding and altered their migration patterns throughout North America.

More information is available at www.borealbirds.org.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ