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Spreading Our Wings in the Boreal

An innovative partnership will expand efforts to conserve vital habitat in this important waterfowl breeding area
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  • NORTH AMERICA'S BOREAL REGION: Ducks and geese raised in the Boreal region follow every flyway and gather in spectacular numbers on North America's most important waterfowl migration and wintering areas.
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A Balanced Approach to Conservation

One solution alone will not be enough to conserve the vast Boreal region, which spans multiple jurisdictions, including international, federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and First Nations areas of governance. More than 98 percent of the Boreal is publicly owned, with private ownership existing only along the region's southern borders and surrounding communities. More importantly, these governments have the rule of law, which ensures that any legislated protection or conservation will be fully enforced. Consequently, influence via policy will be the main vehicle to achieve conservation in the Boreal region. Two main conservation approaches stem from this: Protected Areas Strategies, which works to set aside 50 percent of the 1-billion-acre goal in large blocks of permanently protected habitat, and Environmentally Sustainable Land Use in economically important areas, which aims to conserve the other 50 percent through sustainable practices by finding the right balance between economic resource development and maintaining the ecological function of the Boreal region. The strength of this framework is that it not only allows for strict protection, but also strives to ensure that the Boreal Forest continues to produce economic benefits in perpetuity by employing world-class resource management standards and practices and comprehensive conservation planning. This framework also respects the lands, rights, and traditional uses of more than 600 First Nations groups that reside in the Boreal region. DU was an original signatory to this "50-50" Boreal conservation framework.

You Can Be Part of the Solution

The Boreal is a diverse landscape rich in waterfowl and other natural resources as well as challenges and opportunities for conservation. The Boreal partnership has been developed to meet the region's conservation challenges and to keep the millions of waterfowl raised here flying south. The path to success is through a partnership-based collaborative approach, with continued support from DU membersvolunteers, major donors, and other partners. We now have the unprecedented opportunity to protect 1 billion acres of Boreal wetlands and other wildlife habitat if we can find the resolve and resources to make our conservation vision a reality. For more information about DU's Boreal conservation work, visit the DU website at ducks.org/Boreal


Kevin Smith is national manager of Boreal programs for DU Canada. Dr. Fritz Reid is director of Boreal and Arctic conservation for DU Inc.

BUILDING BETTER ROADS IN THE BOREAL Wetlands in the Western Boreal Forest are often intricately connected systems, transporting water and nutrients that are vital to the productivity of many important waterfowl habitats. In areas where natural resources development is occurring, however, road construction can disrupt these natural systems. Ducks Unlimited Canada is working with forest industry partners Louisiana-Pacific Canada (LPC), Weyerhaeuser Canada, FPInnovations, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative in an effort to develop more ecologically sensitive road construction techniques and minimize impacts of road construction on different types of Boreal wetlands. The results of this project will be available in early 2014, with best management practices to be implemented shortly thereafter.



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