Mixed Reviews for Quebec’s Plan Nord

The government of Quebec (Canada) has launched its multibillion-dollar Plan Nord, which will open the vast northern reaches of the province to mining and energy development–and protect 50% of the territory from economic development. The 1.2-million-square-kilometre region—twice the size of France—is known for its wild rivers, biodiversity, diverse ecosystems and a large swath (about 20%) of Canada’s boreal forest. Boreal forest covers more than 25% of Quebec. More than 120,000 people, including 33,000 aboriginals also live in the region. Quebec Premier … Read more…

Think small

The Canadian forestry industry could hinge on the most abundant nanomaterial on earth. A pale grey slurry roils about in a waist-high blue plastic drum at the centre of a garage-like space at the National Research Council’s Biotechnology Research Institute in Montreal. It looks a little like slush, but when it is dried it more closely resembles one of the fine white powders chefs stock in their kitchens. For the handful of chemists hovering about the room, it’s the stuff … Read more…