Our Work

Boreal Forest

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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

At 1.3 billion acres, Canada’s boreal stretches across the northern rim of the entire country. 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.

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Importance 

Spanning 1.3 billion acres, 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.

This project is located in one of the most intact areas of the boreal. Results here will carry global significance. The ideas and approaches we help develop can inform forest conservation around the world—contributing new ways of engaging with Indigenous peoples, and creative market and policy solutions. Read about our work in the boreal in The Nature Conservancy's 2017 Global Impact Report.

This project also helps tackle climate change, with the potential to store hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon annually. 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 while keeping nature’s most powerful carbon storehouses intact.

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.

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Our Impact

Our work here started 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, TNC Canada 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. 

Our Approach 

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.