Nearly 46,000 hectares of previously-protected endangered caribou land will soon face deforestation under a new plan put forth by Quebec's Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks.\nThe land was previously protected in order to safeguard the habitat of the endangered Atlantic-Gaspésie woodland caribou, of which only 200 individuals remain in the region.\nVisit MTLBlog for more headlines.\nThe CAQ-lead Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parcs in Quebec announced last week that they have decided to re-purpose nearly 46,000 hectares of previously-protected, endangered caribou land to be deforested in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. The region was previously protected to ensure a safe habitat for woodland caribou, an endangered species that faces hardship across the country due to deforestation.\nThe minister of the MFFP, Pierre Dufour, addressed the change in regulation last week saying that the ministry maintained a "desire to strike the right balance between protecting the woodland caribou and the economic vitality of Quebec and its regions."\nAccording to Le Devoir, the region had previously been under a temporary conservation status or "administrative protection," which prohibited the industrial felling of trees.\nThe MFFP will now wait until 2023 to implement a real strategy in regards to protecting the endangered boreal woodland caribou.\nIn a release by the MFFP in April 2019, they explained that "the objective of the strategy will be to respond adequately to the needs of [woodland and mountain] caribou so as to ensure both the sustainability of the species and the vitality of Quebec and its regions, without impacting the forest industry and its workers."\nThe MFFP released a tweet on December 4, 2019 that announced their decision to open up this previously-protected region to deforestation.\nThe tweet below reads, "Quebec will make available again nearly 46,000 hectares of forest for the harvest in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean."\nQuébec rendra à nouveau disponibles près de 46 000 hectares de forêt pour la récolte du #SaguenayLacSaintJean À lire ici 👉https://t.co/kfKJPIurkU pic.twitter.com/aN90cSVibh— MFFP_Quebec (@MFFP_Quebec) December 4, 2019\nMinistère des Forêts\n \n de la Faune et des Parcs\nIn the map above provided by the MFFP you can see the green regions, which are considered "Vast Favourable Spaces" where woodland caribou where intended to have "little or no disturbance" and where "forestry interventions" were meant to be adapted "to maintain a quality habitat."\nREAD ALSO: Hydro-Quebec To Credit Customers $500 Million Starting This Spring\nNature Canada currently has the Atlantic-Gaspésie population of the woodland caribou listed as Endangered. The Boreal population is also listed as Threatened.\nHabitat restoration may not be enough to save threatened woodland caribou, at least in the short term, new study says. https://t.co/xWR3Ui6wbr pic.twitter.com/MjJ5ZmXyd3— UBC Science (@ubcscience) November 28, 2019\nNew study from @WildlandsLeague shows Ontario deforestation leaves long-term #loggingscars on up to 21,000 hectares of forest every year -- a huge loss of habitat for woodland #caribou and other boreal species.Learn more at: https://t.co/lw9VNUKMeG pic.twitter.com/y35Ky20DCV— WWF-Canada (@WWFCanada) December 4, 2019\nSeveral studies have shown that even an attempt to recultivate forest habitat has proved to have little impact on the dwindling population of woodland caribou, as "logging scars" continue to leave their mark on the regions affected.\nNature Canada cites that there are only 200 individuals remaining in the Atlantic-Gaspésie region.\nStimuler l’innovation dans le secteur forestier, bonifier l’apport des forêts pour atténuer les changements climatiques, accroître les retombées économiques dans nos régions : découvrez nos engagements en consultant le Plan stratégique 2019-2023 👉 https://t.co/VS7k7dn91F pic.twitter.com/fbtrd2Mop2— MFFP_Quebec (@MFFP_Quebec) December 5, 2019\nNature Canada also notes that the woodland caribou has been nicknamed the "grey ghost" because they are so elusive and shy.\nThe MFFP has stated in their release last week, on December 4, 2019, that "recent data from the monitoring system demonstrate the lack of caribou localization in these areas, thus justifying the decision made public."\nBiologist Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, a specialist of the species, spoke with Le Devoir and was quick to say that the MFFP's justification was weak.\nFor a species called a "grey ghost," it's fair to assume that just because you've not seen the woodland caribou, doesn't mean it isn't there.\nBut they might not be for long.