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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 Yukon.

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 and heritage
Canada's boreal 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 lands.

Canada's boreal landscape is a vast ecological treasure
The boreal 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 travelers.

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 molting.
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 has done
Canada can 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 decisions.

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