The boreal forest is the Earth's largest terrestrial carbon sink, storing 208 billion tons of carbon, or the equivalent to 26 years of global carbon emissions. The Nature Conservancy’s project is located in one of the most intact areas.
Results here will carry global significance. The ideas and approaches that are developed can inform forest conservation around the world—contributing to new ways of engaging indigenous peoples and implementing creative market and policy solutions.
Home to ten of Canada’s last and largest woodland caribou herds, this region is filled with mossy peatlands and unbroken stretches of forest, which are key to supporting healthy ecosystems and native plant and animal species.
Mounting pressure for resources such as timber, oil and gas, hydroelectric power and minerals are chipping away at the boreal forest. In southern areas, the forest is being lost at a rate of one percent per year—a pace as rapid as the destruction of Earth’s tropical rainforests. Forest development is also affecting the iconic woodland caribou habitat which is widely recognized as an indicator of ecosystem health.
The Nature Conservancy‘s work in Canada’s boreal forest began with a five-year partnership with Tolko Industries, a company that was responsible for a 22 million-acre forest tenure in northwestern Manitoba, the largest in North America. In collaboration with three Canadian environmental groups, our Canadian affiliate, Nature United, embarked on technical research with Tolko to lay the groundwork for conservation, and for stewardship of woodland caribou, an indicator of healthy boreal forests. This work showed that it is possible to conserve millions of acres of wildlife habitat while supporting a sustainable forestry sector. In Manitoba, we are focused on a 22-million-acre commercial forest tenure—the largest in North America—to build a resilient future where people and nature thrive.
To achieve lasting conservation results, we are partnering with indigenous communities and representatives from industry and government to create a future where healthy communities and responsible economic development drive locally and globally significant conservation outcomes.