Our Work

Boreal Forest

Project Area Location

Canada’s boreal is a green halo of conifer forest that stretches across the north of the entire country, from the Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Project Area Size

5,000 kilometers long. The forest is so big that it touches almost every province and territory, covering more than half the land area of Canada.

Importance

Canada’s boreal is the largest intact forest ecosystem on Earth, comprising one-quarter of the world’s remaining pre-industrial forest.

Boreal forests, wetlands and lakes teem with wildlife — wolves, moose, eagles, caribou, bears, walleye, salmon, chorus frogs and over 30,000 different types of insects.

The region is the spring nursery for more than 3 billion migrating songbirds — nearly 30% of North American birds — and its wetlands sustain 80% of the waterfowl species in North America.

Boreal rivers and lakes provide almost a quarter of the world’s freshwater, its dense carbon-storing soils and forests guard against climate change, storing twice as much carbon per hectare than tropical forests. Boreal trees are the source of many of life’s essential products.

While much of the boreal remains relatively undeveloped and roadless, it is home to more than 2.5 million people, including indigenous communities that rely on the forest for their livelihoods and culture.

Threats

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 1 percent a year — a pace as rapid as the destruction of Earth’s tropical rainforests.

Forest development has affected the habitat of woodland caribou — a boreal icon widely recognized as an indicator of ecosystem health.

Our Impact

TNC Canada works with provincial governments, timber companies, and indigenous and local communities to create sustainable natural resource-based economies and lasting forest stewardship.

TNC Canada is part of a large-scale agreement — the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement — that aims to implement a bold vision for a sustainable future in over 76 million hectares of Canada’s boreal forest, from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

Our Approach

TNC Canada brings our non-confrontational, results-oriented approach as well as scientific, negotiating and technical capacity to our boreal work. Our principal focus on the ground is northwest Manitoba, a region that contains some of the healthiest herds of woodland caribou in Canada and largest intact forests on Earth.

Here, we collaborate with aboriginal peoples, forest industry and non-governmental organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of North America’s largest forest tenure (9 million hectares). We are working to protect 10 caribou herds in by finding and connecting the best remaining habitat.

People

More than 600 communities of indigenous peoples occur throughout the boreal. TNC Canada works closely with indigenous communities to set the region on a path towards healthy forests and a thriving forestry-based economy.

TNC Canada supports indigenous leadership in land use mapping and planning. We’re exploring new mechanisms for indigenous conservation areas or alternative ownership models and scoping cutting-edge green business opportunities.

How You Can Help

Every day, the pressure mounts on Canada’s forests. The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement marks an historic step in the right direction, but now we need your support to put the agreement into action and make it work for people and nature. Please join us in protecting Canada’s boreal. Your help will make the difference.