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Charest announces conservation plan for Quebec's north



MONTREAL - Quebec will turn 20% of its vast northern territory into internationally recognized protected areas, a plan Premier Jean Charest said is one of the largest conservation projects in the world.

"No other government in the world has protected an area so vast in such a short span of time," Charest told reporters in Montreal Sunday morning.

Quebec has given itself until 2020 to make good on its pledge, which includes protecting 12% of the province's Boreal forest, a territory crucial to the fight against global warming as the trees soak up carbon.

The conservation plan is part of the massive, multi-billion dollar resource exploitation project the Quebec government announced last May. The plan is called Le Plan Nord (the Northern Plan).

Charest said he expects its northern region, equalling roughly 1.2 million square km - a little less than twice the size of France - will receive about $80 billion investment over the next 25 years for the exploitation of mining, forest and energy resources.

Fifty per cent of that land will be areas "protected from industrial activity by 2035" Charest said Sunday. The activity that will be permitted on the extra 30% of land not considered an official "protected area," has yet to be determined, he said.


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