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Canada

Boreal Forest Agreement: Striking an Accord for People and Nature

Nineteen timber companies and seven environmental organizations—including the Conservancy—have come together to break down barriers and build a new foundation for the protection of Canada's Boreal Forest.

Project Scale

At 1.3 billion acres, Canada’s Boreal Forest accounts for one-quarter of the intact, original forest remaining on Earth. To protect this vital landscape, the Conservancy has joined forces with a broad coalition of environmental organizations, industries, indigenous peoples and governments through the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. It is the largest agreement of its kind anywhere in the world, and is focused on finding solutions that work for people and nature across 178 million acres of boreal forest—an area twice the size of Germany.

Under the agreement, 19 timber companies have suspended logging operations on over 70 million acres of prime woodland caribou habitat so that all stakeholders can work together to develop and implement conservation plans (including protected areas) and improved forestry practices. Signed in 2010, this evergreen agreement is in effect until all goals have been met. To learn more about the agreement itself, visit canadianborealforestagreement.com.

Wildlife

At 1.3 billion acres, Canada’s Boreal Forest accounts for one quarter of the intact, original forest remaining on Earth. Here, moose, wolves and bears roam the landscape as do the iconic woodland caribou—an at-risk species highly sensitive to habitat alterations like road-building, logging and climate change. In addition, the Boreal is the spring nursery for more than 3 billion migrating songbirds and its wetlands sustain 80% of the waterfowl species in North America.

Science

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement relies on science to guide actions on the ground. The Conservancy is playing an important role in providing this science as we lend research and expertise to help shape national and regional conservation plans that focus on safeguarding woodland caribou, protecting high-value areas and improving forestry practices.

Through science-based assessments, agreement partners have identified priority landscapes (where to focus protection efforts) and ecological benchmarks (what successful protection will look like). Social sciences also play an integral part as stakeholders evaluate the potential impacts of conservation initiatives on jobs, wood supply and the economy.

Climate Change

Boreal forests provide a global buffer against climate change by capturing and holding 11 percent of the world’s carbon —more than twice that of any other terrestrial habitat. But with the highest rates of deforestation in the world, boreal forests are in danger. The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement is helping to safeguard this vital carbon sink by protecting carbon-storing peatlands and soils over 178 million acres of Canadian Boreal Forest and developing sustainable, world-leading forest management practices that can improve the Boreal’s ability to continue to store carbon.

Partnership

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), representing 19 of Canada’s major forestry companies, and seven leading environmental organizations (including the Conservancy) signed an historic agreement that is ushering in a new era of conservation and forest management across 178 million acres of Canada’s Boreal Forest. Together, we are working with Indigenous peoples, local communities and provincial governments to create a win-win for people and nature by developing guidelines for protected areas, forest management and sustainable logging practices.

Sustainable Forestry

Eighty-five percent of Canada’s southern Boreal Forest is allocated to forest product companies and half of all paper products used in the US originate from these forests. A vital economic driver, Canada’s timber industry is a leading employer across the country. The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement recognizes the value of this industry and seeks to balance the “twin pillars” of prosperity and conservation.

To help accomplish these goals, the Conservancy is partnering with stakeholders to provide science and expertise that supports timber companies in sustainably managing a landscape of working forests across the Boreal. Together, we are protecting millions of acres while increasing the availability of sustainable wood and paper products in the marketplace. Through this agreement, Canada’s forest products companies are transforming into a leaner, greener industry.

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