Manitoba’s Boreal Forest

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Great Gray Owl, by Ian Ward

Canada’s boreal region contains one quarter of the world’s remaining original forests. Covering more than half of Canada’s landmass, the boreal stretches from Newfoundland to the Yukon and is home to over 600 First Nations.

A vast ecological treasure, the boreal forest is home to an array of wildlife, from fragile lichens and colourful songbirds, to some of the largest populations of woodland caribou, bears, and wolves. In addition to being rich habitat for a whole suite of species, the boreal plays an important role in protecting the environment by filtering water, storing carbon, producing oxygen and other critical functions.

Unlike many other places in Canada, the opportunity to preserve the ecological integrity of a large, undisturbed region of boreal forest still exists in Manitoba. To do so though requires a new way of thinking.
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Boreal Forest Conservation Framework

A coalition of conservation organizations, First Nations, and resource companies released a bold, national vision and action plan for the conservation of Canada’s boreal forest on December 1st, 2003. The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework aims to conserve the cultural, sustainable economic and natural values of the entire Canadian boreal region by protecting at least 50% of the region in a network of large interconnected protected areas and, by supporting sustainable communities and world leading ecosystem-based resource management principles in the remaining landscape.

The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework is a new and balanced approach to nature conservation and development. The Framework has been endorsed by a diverse group, including the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries the Deh Cho First Nation, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Forest Ethics, the Innu Nation, Poplar River First Nation, Suncor Energy, Tembec Forest Industries and the World Wildlife Fund of Canada. These groups, who have at times had opposing interests, have come together with the shared understanding the importance of Canada’s boreal forest.

For more information, go to the website Heart of the Boreal, or the Canadian Boreal Initiative.

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Extent of the Boreal Forest in Canada