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Action Alert: Proposed exemption severely limits endangered black ash protection

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In AWARE News Network
Oct 20th, 2023
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Hello,

After a two-year delay in providing any protection whatsoever for the endangered black ash under the Endangered Species Act, 2007, the Government of Ontario is now due to implement the law. Instead of making up for lost time, however, the government is proposing to severely limit protections for the species and its habitat going forward through a “conditional exemption” (ERO 019-7378).

Black ash is a critically endangered species globally and is of great cultural significance to many Indigenous Peoples. Ontario’s conservation responsibility for the species is significant, since about 25 percent of the global range for the species occurs in the province.

The primary threat to black ash is the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB), which is steadily expanding its range northward. Warmer temperatures resulting from climate change will enable the EAB’s spread, with 99.98 percent of the range of black ash in Ontario at risk of infestation over the next 80 years.

Climate change impacts and habitat loss pose additional threats to black ash, which is found predominantly in wetlands, riparian areas and other seasonally wet areas.

All in all, the proposed exemption would deny legal protection for most black ash trees and their habitats across their range in Ontario. It defies the spirit and intent of the Endangered Species Act, 2007, which calls for a precautionary approach to protecting and recovering species at risk.

Read more here (to sign our Petition)

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