Canadian Boreal Initiative
I n an increasingly industrialized world, Canada's
boreal region is a breath of fresh air…literally.
This forest ecosystem, filled with lakes and wetlands
moderates our climate, produces oxygen and purifies
the water we drink. It is the source of life to
aboriginal peoples and home to thousands of species
of animals, birds, plants and insects. It is an
ecosystem of astonishing power.
Canada's boreal region
is home to one of the largest remaining intact
forest ecosystems in the world
Canada's boreal region is home to more than 90
percent of the country's remaining large intact
forestlands and more than four million people.
Covering nearly 6 million km2 (1.4 billion acres)
and 58% of Canada's land mass, the boreal region
forms a broad green belt across the centre of
the country, stretching from Newfoundland to the
It represents 25% of the world's
remaining large intact forests. Pine, spruce,
aspen, poplar and larch trees dominate its vast
forestlands. Thirty percent of it is covered by
wetlands, consisting of bogs, fens, marshes, an
estimated 1.5 million lakes, and some of the country's
largest river systems.
A land of rich culture
region is home to more than four million people
including many First Nations communities.
Over the millennia, First Nations have developed
valuable traditional knowledge that has balanced
conservation with sustenance in the boreal region.
Canada has the opportunity to acknowledge and
respect the leadership role of First Nations in
achieving conservation goals on their traditional
Canada's boreal landscape
is a vast ecological treasure
forest teems with life, from tiny fragile lichens
and small colourful songbirds to some of the world's
largest remaining populations of woodland caribou,
wolves and bears.
The boreal region is a rich habitat for migratory
songbirds. More than one billion birds migrate
north to breed after wintering in warmer climates.
Just a few kilometres of mixed boreal forest may
support 600 breeding pairs of these long-distance
More than 75% of North America's waterfowl rely
on Canada's boreal wetlands and forests at some
point in their lives for breeding, staging and
It is of major economic importance.
There are about 7,000 forest-related establishments
throughout Canada's forests, providing jobs to
nearly 400,000 people. About one-half of Canada's
annual wood harvest comes from the boreal forest
region, contributing to the more than $400 million
in annual government payments from this sector.
In Canada we have
an opportunity to do something no other country
set an example for the world by conserving its
boreal region through an interconnected network
of large-scale protected areas and conservation
lands; leading-edge sustainable development practices
on the remainder of the landscape; and local community
and First Nations engagement on land management